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Commencing January 1832, and ending February \, 1833. 







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No. P*B«- ' 

XCII.~1832, January. I. New Slave Code : Order in Council of No- 
vember 2, 1831 : — 1. Protectors of Slaves ; 2. Sunday markets 
and labour ; 3. Driving-whip ; 4. Arbitrary punishment ; 5. 
Illegal or cruel punishment ; 6. Malicious complaints; 7. Re- 
cords of punishment; 8. Marriage; 9. Rights of property; 
10. Separation of families ; 11. Manumission; 12. Presump- 
tions of slavery ; 13. Evidence; 14. Food; 15. Duration of 
labour ; 16. Clothing, &c. ; 17. Religious worship ; 18. Medi- 
cal aid ; 19. Miscellaneous rules ; Conclusion . . . 1 — 37 

II. Instructions of Viscount Goderich to Governors of Colonies . 37 — 53 

III. Recent Intelligence from Jamaica ..... 53—56 

IV. Cape of Good Hope ; Free labour 56 

XCIU.— February. T. New Slave Code of Jamaica .... 57—76 

II. Further illustrations of the effect of slavery on morals and 
m.aQners in Jamaica, drawn from the periodical press of that 
island 76—80 

XCIV. — March 10. A calm and authentic review of the causes, the 
commencement, and the progress to a certain period, of the 
insurrection which is reported recently to have taken place 
among the slaves in the Colony of Jamaica . . . . 81 — 112 

XCV. — April 28. I. Parliamentary proceedings ; — Debate on the sugar 

duties 113—134 

II. Recent Intelligence from Jamaica : — Persecution of the mis- 
sionaries ; Treatment of Henry Williams .... 134 — 133 

III. Committee of Inquiry on West India affairs in the House of 

Lords 135—136 

IV. Mr. Buxton's motion in the House of Commons . . . 136 

V. The Anti-Slavery Record ib. 

VI. General Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society ... ib. 
XCVI. — May. I. Proceedings of a General Meeting of the Anti-Slavery 

Society and its friends, held at Exeter Hall, on Saturday, the 
12th of May, 1832. Speeches of Mr. Stephen, Lord Suffield, Mr. 
Buxton, M. P.,' Rev. J.W.Cunningham, Dr. Lushington, M.P., 


Ko. Page. 

Mr. Smith, Mr. O'Connell, M. P., Rev. J. Burnett, Mr. Evans, 

M. P., Hon. and Rev. B. Noel, Mr. Pownall, &c. James 

Stephen, Esq., in the chair 137 — 176 

II. Debate on Mr. Buxton's motion in the House of Commons . 176 

XC VII. — June. Report of a Committee of the House of Commons on the 
causes and remedy of West India distress, with the evidence 
taken. — Paper of the I3th April, 1832, No. 381, containing 350 
pages 177—204 

XCVIII. — July. Communications between the Colonial Secretary of 
State and the Colonies; viz., 1. Constitution of Trinidad; 2. 
Liberation of forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves; 3. Persecu- 
tion of Samuel Swiney, a Jamaica Slave ; 4. Female Flogging in 
Jamaica; 5. Female Flogging, &c., in the Bahamas j 6. Slave In- 
surrection j 7. Report of the Bishop of Jamaica; 8. Free Black 
and Coloured Classes, changes in their civil condition ; 9. The 
Protection given to Slaves in Jamaica by law illustrated . . 205 — 228 

XCIX. — August 1. I. Recent Intelligence from the West Indies. — 1. 
Resolutions of Black Freeholders of Kingston, Jamaica; 2. Ad- 
dress of Free Black and Coloured Inhabitants of Trinidad ; 3. 
Address of Free Black and Coloured Inhabitants of the Baha- 
mas ; 4. Report of the House of Assembly of Jamaica on the late 
Rebellion ; with the Protests of the Baptist and Wesleyan Me- 
thodist Missionaries ; 5. Speech of Mr. Watkis in the Jamaica 
Assembly ; 6. Farther Persecutions in Jamaica ; 7. Appointment 
of Delegates to Great Britain by Jamaica Assembly ; 8, Trial of 
the Editor of the Jamaica Watchman for a capital Felony . 229 — 242 

II. Rebellion in Jamaica 242 — 248 

C. — September 1. A detailed View by Mr. Buxton, M. P., of the Progress 

of Population among the Slaves in the several Slave Colonies of 
Great Britain, since the first institution of the system of Regis- 
tration ; with Observations thereon 249 — 264 

CI. — October 1. I. The Christian Record of Jamaica, No. 3, of March, 
1832. — 1. Mis-statements of Mr. Alex. Barclay; 2. Free Labour • 
Sugar in Jamaica ; 3. Instruction of Slaves ; 4. Kirk of Scotland . 
in Jamaica ; 5. Parochial Schools in Jamaica .... 265 — 274 
JI. Religious Persecutions in Jamaica 274 — 283 

III. Circular Despatches of Viscount Goderich to the Governors 

of Slave Colonies 283—291 

IV. Resolutions of the Anti-Slavery Committee on the present 

state of the Slavery Question 292 

CII. — November 1. — I. Conduct of Emancipated Africans in Antigua . 293 — 296 

II. American Colonization Society 296 — 300 

CHI. — November 15. Con-espondence between SirC.B. Codrington and 

T.F. Buxton, Esq., on the subject of Slavery .... 301 — 312 





December 31. — Analysis of the Report of a Committee of the 

House of Commons on the Extinction of Slavery ; with Notes 

by the Editor, viz. 

Report of the Committee , 


List of Witnesses 


Evidence of W, Taylor, Esq. 


,, Rev. J. Barry 


,, Rev. P. Duncan ...... 


Rev. T.Cooper 


„ Mr. Henry Loving 


Rev. J. Thorp 


Rev. W. S.Austin 


Vice-Admiral the Hon. Charles Fleming- 


„ Robert Sutherland, Esq 


Rev. N.Paul ...... 


„ Rev. T. Morgan 


Rev. W. Knibb 


Captain C. H. Williams, R. N. . 


W. A. Hankey, Esq 


J. P. Ogden, Esq 


,, Robert Scott, Esq. ..... 


,, James Simpson, Esq. .... 

. 422—429 

„ William Mier, Esq 


„ Rev. J. Shipman ..... 


,, Rev. R. Young 


William Shand, Esq. .... 

. 431—436. 

,, Bryan Adams, Esq. 


„ Mr. John Ford Pike 


,, William Watson, Esq. .... 


H. T. Bowen, Esq. ..... 


,, R. G. Amyot, Esq 


„ Samuel Baker, Esq 


,, A. G. Dignum, Esq. . . . ; . 


„ Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Rowley 


J. B. Wildman, Esq. ..... 

. 444—460 

Rev. J. T. Barrett, D. D. . 


,, William Burge, Esq. 


,, John Macgregor, Esq. .... 


Documentary Evidence 

Evidence of Annasamy ...... 


. Captain Elliott, R. N., Protector of Slaves i 

Demerara ........ 

. 463—470 

Concluding Remarks ....... 

. 470—472 


No. Page. 
CV. — February. — Abstract of the Report of the Lords' Committees on the 

condition and treatment of the Colonial Slaves, and of the Evi- 

dence taken bj^ them on that subject ; with Notes by the Editor, 

viz. — 

Report of the Committee 473 

List of Witnesses ...... 


Evidence of the Duke of Manchester 

. 476—481 

H. J. Hinchcliffe, Esq. 


„ John Baillie, Esq. 

. 483—489 

,, The Lord Seaford . , 

. 489—494 

,, Major-General Sir John Keane . 


William Shand, Esq. . 


Sir Michael Clare, M. D. . 


,, Admiral Sir Lawrence Halsted . 


,, Lieutenant Colonel A. Macdonald 


,, Rev. James Curtin 


,, The Lord Howard de Walden 


Rev. Dr. Barrett 


,, Mr. Edmund Sharp 


,, A, G. Dignum, Esq. . . 


,, James Simpson, Esq. 


Mr. E. J. Wolsey ... 


,, Thomas Williams, Esq. 


,, William Burge, Esq. , 


,, Rev. J. Barry ..... 


,, Vice- Admiral the Hon. C. Fleming 


,, William Taylor, Esq. . 


,, Rev, P. Duncan . . ' . 


,, Rev. T. Morgan . . . 


Rev. W. Knibb 


Rev. T. Cooper , . 


,, Rev. J. Thorj-se ..... 


T. F. Buxton, Esq., M. P. . 


Concluding Remarks ...... 


Index ......... 



No. 92.] JANUARY 1832. [Vol. v. No. L 

1831. 1. Protectors of slaves ; 2, Sunday markets and labour ; 3. Driving 
whip; 4. Arbitrary punishment ; 5. Illegal or cruel punishment ; &. Mali- 
cious complaints ; 7. Records of punishment ; 8. Marriage; 9. Rights of 
property; 10. Separation of families; 11. Manumission; 12. Presumptions 
of slavery ; 13. Evidence; 14. Food; 15. Duration of labow ; 16. Cloth- 
ing, Sj-c; 17. Religious worship ; 18. Medical aid; 19. Miscellaneous rules ; 





In our third volume, No. 58,we took occasion to analyse an Order in 
Council, issued on the 3rd of February, 1830, for ameliorating the 
condition of the slaves in the Crown Colonies, commenting upon some 
of its provisions with feelings of regret and disappointment. A new 
Order, framed on the basis of the former, but greatly modifying, and 
we must add, materially improving its general tenor, has recently 
appeared. It bears date the 2nd of November 1 831 , and has already, 
we believe, been transmitted as an actual law to the Governors of those 
Colonies, viz. Demerara and Berbice, (now forming one Colony under 
the name of British Guiana,) Trinidad, St. Lucia, the Cape of Good 
Hope, and the Mauritius. We proceed to give an abstract of its pro- 
visions, with such observations as they appear to call for, 

I. Protectors, and Assistant Protectors. — §. I. — XXVI. 

The first twenty-six clauses are occupied in regulating the important 
offices of Protectors and Assistant Protectors of Slaves; in pre- 
scribing their duties; and in arming them with the needful authority 
for duly executing their various functions. The improvements in 
this part of the Slave Code are highly important, and seem to proceed 
on a careful review of the obstacles which have hitherto frustrated 
the benevolent intentions of the Government in appointing these 

Whoever has perused with attention the various reports which 
have been made to the Secretary of State, by the Protectors of Slaves 
in the several Crown Colonies, will know how to appreciate the 
changes which have been introduced into the present Order, and 
which we shall now specify. 

1. Not only all Protectors, but all Assistant Protectors also, are 
now debarred, on pain de facto of loss of office, from being, in their 

2 Neiu Slave Code — Protectors of Slaves. 

own right or in that of their wives, the owners of any slave, or having" 
any interest in, or any security upon any slave or in any land cultivated 
by the labour of slaves; and from being or acting as manager, over- 
seer, agent, guardian, trustee, or attorney, for any such estate, or for 
any slaves. They are further debarred from hiring or employing any 
slave for domestic service, unless it shall first be made to appear, to 
the satisfaction of the Governor, that it is not in their power to hire 
free persons to perform domestic services.* (^. VII.) 

2. Power is given by this Order to every Protector, or Assistant 
Protector, to enter, from time to time, and whenever he shall see 
occasion, upon any plantation cultivated, in whole or in part , by 
slaves, or into any house or hut inhabited by slaves, for the purpo se of 
communicating Avith any slave, on any such plantation, or in any such 
house ; and if any person shall, by force, or menace, or other un- 
lawful means, prevent or oppose the entry, or the continuance, of 
any Protector, thereupon or therein, so long as he may deem it 
expedient to remain ; or oppose or prevent his communicating with 
any such slave ; then the person, so offending, shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeanour. (§. XI.) 

3. Slaves are at all times authorized to resort to the Protector to 
lay their complaints before him, or to apply to him in any matter 
relating to the duties of his office; and such slaves, so resorting, or 
returning to their abode after so resorting, though found without a pass 
or ticket from their manager, permitting their absence, shall not, for the 
want of such pass, be liable to any punishment, any law or usage 
to the contrary notwithstanding; — Provided neverthele ss that nothing 
herein contained shall authorise any such absence of any such slave 
tvithout a pass, uyiless such slave shall first have applied for a pass 
to the manager and shall have failed to obtain the same from him. 
(§. XIII.) And any person who, by force, or .menace, or any other 
means, shall prevent slaves from resorting to the Protector, or shall 
punish them for so resorting, or for any complaint or application 
they shall make to the Protector, such person shall be deemed guilty 
of a misdemeanour. (§. XIV.) 

4. Protectors, in all matters relating to the duties of their office, 
are authorized to require the attendance, at a given time and place, 
of all persons complained against, or interested in the result of any 
complaint, or who are supposed capable of giving evidence respecting 
it, whether such persons be free or slaves, (the summons in the latter 
case being addressed to the master of the slaves) and, at the given 
time and place, the Protector may proceed to hear and adjudge the 
cause, even in the absence of parties who shall be proved to have 
been duly summoned but who shall refuse or neg ect to attend, 
unless some reasonable excuse for such non-attendance shall be es- 
tablished to the Protector's satisfaction. The witnesses in such cause, 

* This last Provisio is uncalled for, as in evei-y Colony free domestics may be 
hired. It opens, too, a door to evasion and abuse. Domestic slavery is peculiarly 
corrupting, and besides this, by compelling the Protectors to resort to the ordinary^ 
modes of chastisement, their influence and efficiency may thereby be greatly 

Protectors of Slaves. 3 

feither for or against the complaint, are to be examined on oath, and their 
depositions taken down in writing, and read over to them, and signed 
by them. Witnesses refusing to attend, on being duly summoned, 
may be arrested by warrant of the Protector and brought before 
him; and when so brought before him, if they shall refuse to be fully 
examined and to give evidence, they may be committed to the com- 
mon jail, there to remain till they shall submit to be fully examined ; 
from which jail, however, they may be discharged by the Chief Civil 
Judge, on proof that the commitment was not legal. — The forms o^ 
summonses and of proceedings are annexed to the Order. — Protectors) 
are prohibited from acting as Magistrates, except in the cases prescribed 
in the preceding clauses. (§. XV. — XXIII.) 

5. Protectors shall have notice of all prosecutions against slaves 
for all capital or transportable offences, and of all suits affecting the 
freedom and property of slaves, and of all prosecutions for murders, 
and other offences, committed on the persons of slaves, in the same 
manner in which notice would be given to the slave if free ; and 
Protectors shall also attend and be present at all such trials, prose- 
cutions, suits, &c. ; otherwise all the proceedings that may be taken 
shall be absolutely null, void, and of no effect, as against such slave. 
(§. XXIV.) 

6. If complaint shall be made to any Protector of any wrong or 
injury done to a slave ; or if such wrong or injury shall come to his 
knowledge; it shall be his duty to inquire into the case; and if, in the 
result, it appear to him that any civil or criminal proceeding ought 
to be instituted, it shall be his duty, and he is required, to institute 
the same, as the case may be, either in the Slave's name or his own, 
against any such wrong-doer, and to conduct such proceeding to its 
close, by himself, or by any advocate or solicitor he may employ for 
that purpose. (§. XXV.) 

7. And when any slave shall come by death in a sudden, violent, 
or extraordinary manner, the Protector shall hold an inquest on the 
body of such slave, and shall for this purpose have the same powers 
as the Coroner of any County in England possesses ; and every person, 
knowing of any such death, is required, under a penalty of ten 
pounds for every omission or neglect, to use his utmost diligence to 
give notice thereof to the Protector of the district in which such 
death shall have happened. (§. XXVI.) 

We should have had only to express our satisfaction with these 
alterations, had it not been for two Provisos, one mentioned in a note 
on the preceding page, and the other (printed in italics) introduced 
into the Order at the close of §. XIII. It appears from the papers 
before us that this Proviso formed no part of the Order as at first 
framed by Lord Goderich. The draft of it sent, on the 15th Sep- 
tember 1830, to the West Indian Agents, with a view to their obser- 
vations, did not contain it. These gentlemen were sufficiently acute 
at once to perceive its importance, and the degree in which it would go 
to weaken all the other provisions, by which effectual protection was 
intended to be secured to the aggrieved slave ; — and yet, the reasons 

4 New Slave Code — Protectors of Slaves. 

they assign for requiring this concession appear scarcely to deserve 
the consideration they have received. 

'' The permission, " they say, " to go at all times (to the Protector 
to complain) without passes might be perverted to mischievous pur- 
poses, A runaway for example, on being asked for a pass, might answer 
that he was going to the Protector. Whole gangs and the entire 
population of a district might also go up with perfect impunity, and no 
check or means appear to be provided to prevent the loss of labour 
which must result to the proprietor if frivolous complaints are made."^ 
Papers by Command, 1831, p. 148. 

To this objection Lord Goderich replies, that although " if the 
power of resorting to the Protector be not given, the law will ob- 
viously lose all its efficacy," he nevertheless " admits without reserve 
the possibility of abuse." An amendment therefore is introduced, 
" by which slaves found without a pass are exempted from punish- 
ment, only on proof that they had applied to the owner for it, with 
a view bona Jide to prefer a complaint, and had been refused. "^ 
Ibid. p. 79. 

Now it is true that a slave who is really a runaway, may plead, if 
he is challenged, that he is going to the Protector to complain; but 
any person who has a right to challenge him, has also a right to arrest 
him, if he sees reason to doubt the truth of the slave's allegation. 
Having nothing to shew in proof of his statement that he is not a run- 
away, he may be dealt with as such ; and this formidable risk the 
slave incurs, whenever, driven by the fear of the refusal of a pass from 
his manager, he ventures to the Protector without it. The risk, 
therefore, and the inconvenience, are his alone. If he misrepresents 
his case, he does it at the peril of suffering the penalty of desertion ; 
and considering the jealousy and distrust which prevail, he may ex- 
pect, if challenged, to be taken up ; though by being so taken up,, 
if he has spoken the truth, he will only be brought more certainly 
on his way to the Pi'otector. Where, then, is the evil ? 

As to the supposition that either individuals, or whole gangs, or the 
whole population of a district, may causelessly absent themselves from 
labour in order to complain, it is to suppose that there is no effective 
police in Slave Colonies to restrain such causeless absences, and na 
punishment for false and malicious chaiges, when they are proved to 
be false and malicious. 

On the other hand is it not an uncalled for, and somewhat dan- 
gerous abridgment of the slave's power of access to his Protector, to 
be obliged to obtain the consent of the wrong-doer before being per- 
mitted to go to him? and in practice, it will be found, as past 
experience founded on the reports of Protectors has clearly shewn^ 
that such an obligation may operate most prejudicially to the slave. 
Cases may occur, not only where influence or intimidation may be 
sucessfully employed to prevent very grave cases of complaint from 
reaching the Protector's ears, but where crime maybe added to crime, 
in order to obviate the risks of investigation. The power of a manager 
is great: and it does seem an anomaly of a singular kind, that the 
party injured should be made to depend, for the ready means of 

Sunday Markets; and Sunday Labour. 5 

redress, on the willingness of the wrong-doer to afford him such means. 
What a manager may do, in such a case, is painfully exemplified in an 
affair occurring at the Mauritius, viz.: the case of Francis and Loff, 
the slaves of Mr. Marchal, in the Protector's latest report from 
that island, (p. 175, No. 91.) How easily might Mr. Marchal have 
suppressed all means of detection and punishment by one additional 
enormity ! 

II. Sunday Markets and Sunday Labour. — §. XXVII. — XXXV. 

1. Sunday Markets are declared to be unlawful, and are hence- 
forth absolutely to cease and determine, and all persons assembling 
for such markets are to be dispersed by the officers of police, and 
shall forfeit not less than five, nor more than twenty shillings for 
every such offence, and the goods of the offenders may be sold, pro- 
vided they are not redeemed by such offenders for a sum not less than 
ten, nor more than twenty shillings ; one half of such penalty, or of 
the proceeds of such sale if the goods are sold, being paid for the 
use of the poor of the place, and the other half to the person making 
the seizure; it being provided, nevertheless, that nothing is to pre- 
vent the sale of medicines, or of provisions consumed in inns, or of 
certain perishable articles, as milk, fresh meat, fish or bread, on 
Sunday, between the hours set apart on that day for divine service. 
(§. XXVII.— XXX.) 

2. The Governor of each Colony shall, by proclamation, appoint 
one day in each week for holding markets at the customary places, 
and shall determine the hours at which such markets shall be held ; 
and on such weekly market day, it shall not be lawful to seize, in 
execution on any civil process, any slave resorting to, or being at, 
or returning from, such market, and every such seizure shall be ab- 
solutely null and void. (^. XXXI.) 

3. No slave shall be liable to labour for the benefit or advantage 
of his owner or manager, or of any other person whatsoever, on any 
Sunday throughout the year ; and any person compelling any slave to 
perform such labour on any Sunday, shall incur a fine of not less 
than one, nor more than ten pounds ; but this prohibition shall not 
extend to slaves usually employed as domestics, or in the tending or 
care of cattle ; nor to any work of necessity. Under the head, how- 
ever, of works of necessity, is not to be included any description of 
agricultural labour, or any labour performed in the manufacture of 
sugar, rum, molasses, wine, indigo, coffee, or cocoa, unless such la- 
bour be undertaken to prevent, or arrest, or remedy the effects of any 
fire, flood, hurricane, tempest, or such like casualty. 

These regulations respecting Sunday, as far as they go, are doubt- 
less very salutary, and a great improvement on the former Order ; but 
still they fall very far short of the justice and necessity of the case. 

In the first place, there is no provision for conferring on the slave 
a right to attend the weekly market. A weekly market-day may be 
duly appointed by proclamation in every colony ; and yet not one 
slave in that Colony may have the power of attending such market. 

6 New Slave Code — Prohibition of Driviyig Whip. 

The owner is not required, by any law, to give the slave a single hour 
for that purpose ; so that this well-meant but most ineffective regula- 
tion may prove, instead of a source of advantage, a source of real in- 
jury, to the slave. If not by law, at least by immemorial usage, the 
slave has hitherto had the power of attending the Sunday market. 
Henceforward itis left to the mere caprice of managers to say whether he 
shall ever have it in his power to attend a market at all. Is not this a 
severe grievance, a grievance too inflicted, not by colonial legislatures, 
but by the King in council ? And if this oppressive arrangement 
should lead, as in Antigua and other colonies, (for whose defective 
legislation it seems to afford an apology,) to discontent, resistance, 
and blood ; to the insurrection of the injured slaves ; to their conse- 
quent subjection to military execution ; or to their judicial condem- 
nation to stripes or exile or death ; would not all the misery thus 
caused, and all the blood thus shed, be chargeable on the defects of 
this Order ? We implore the Government, therefore, to re-consider 
these clauses, and if Slavery must still continue, at least to prevent, 
before it is too late, the evils which must, sooner or later, flow from 
their imperfection. There is only one way of effectually obviating 
those evils, and of rendering to the slaves the measure of justice which 
we verily believe it is the desire and intention of the Government to 
render to them ; and that is, to give them, by a positive enactment, a 
right to the use of the Aveekly market-day. 

We trust also that means will be devised for securing to slaves 
Avho are employed on Sunday as domestics or cattle keepers, and who 
are thus debarred from the enjoyment of it as a day which is to be 
wholly free, as in the case of all other slaves, from *' the demands of 
the master, or their own necessities," both due time for instruction 
and repose, and adequate means of subsistence. 

III. Prohibition of the Driving Whip. — ^. XXXVI. 

The prohibition of the driving whip, or of any other like in- 
strument, to impel labour of any kind, seems to be unexceptionably 
expressed. The employment of it is punishable as a misdemeanour in 
all who use it or who cause it to be used. 

IV. Regulation of Arbitrary Punishment. — §. XXXVII. — XL. 

We now come to the regulations respecting the infliction of arbi- 
trary PUNISHMENT by the owner or his delegate ; and undoubtedly 
there is here also very considerable improvement. 

1. No female slave can legally be punished by flogging in any 
case, except by sentence of a court or magistrate. 

2. No male slave can be legally punished by flogging, if the num- 
ber of stripes shall exceed fifteen (instead of twenty-five as in the 
former Order,) for any one offence, or by any number of successive 
punishments within 24 hours ; or if, at the time of such punishment, 
there shall be, on the person of the slave, any unhealed wound caused 
by any former punishment. 

3. It shall not be lawful to punish any slave, male or female, 
"wantonly, that is to say, without a reasonable and adequate cause," 
or " to inflict on any slave a pumishment more than adequate to the 

Regulation of Arbitrary Punishment. II 

fault ;" or " to inflict on any slave two or more punishments for any 
one offence;" or to employ " two or more distinct modes of punish- 
ing one and the same offence ;" or '* to employ any mode of punishing 
a slave which may be both unusual, and calculated to produce 
greater suffering than'the modes of domestic punishment usually era- 
ployed in the colony ; or to use, in punishment, any instrument of 
greater severity than is usually employed in common jails, with the 
previous sanction of the chief judge, to punish persons sentenced to 
bodily punishment in such jails." Neither shall it be lawful to inflict 
any corporal punishment, on any slave, until the expiration of six hours 
from the time of the commission of the offence; and unless one free 
person, competent to give evidence in a court of justice, other than 
the person authorising and the person inflicting the punishment, be 
present as a witness, or, in case no such free person can be found, 
three adult slaves as witnesses of the punishment ; — and any one 
who shall violate any of these rules regulating arbitrary ptmishments, 
or be aiding in doing so, shall be deemed guilty of a jnisdemeanour. 
But these rules shall not extend to any punishments inflicted by 
competent courts, or to the whipping of girls under ten years of age 
as free girls are usually whipped at school. (§. XXXVII, — XXXIX.) 
4. For the punishment of offences formerly punishable by whipping, 
female slaves shall be liable to imprisonment, confinement in stocks, 
or such other punishment as may be authorized by a proclamation of 
the governor of each colony, which proclamation shall prescribe, with 
all practicable precision, the nature and extent of the punishments so 
to be substituted for whipping in the case of females, and also make 
such regulations as may be necessary to prevent and punish any 
abuses in such substituted modes of punishment. (§. XL.) 

Our first remark on this part of the Order is that we lament the con- 
tinuance of the power of owners and their delegates arbitrarily to in- 
flict the whip, in any case, even on males. Such a power is obviously 
unnecessary ; but, even if necessary, corporal punishment ought to be 
inflicted only by the magistrate. It is alleged, however, to be neces- 
sary, and, on the ground of that alleged necessity, the Order in 
Council sanctions the continuance of the practice ; sanctions, that 
is to say, the infliction, by any master or mistress, or by any dele- 
gate of any such master or mistress, on any male slave, fifteen in- 
cisions of the whip. And these fifteen incisions may be inflicted on 
a man's bared posteriors, (for such is the practice !) for no defined 
offence, without any previous trial, without the necessity of receiving- 
evidence of the sufferer's guilt, or any opportunity given him of re- 
butting such evidence, but at the mere discretion of any owner, or of 
the delegate of such owner, whoever he may be. An attempt, we ad- 
mit, is made to guard against the abuse of this tremendous and 
irresponsible power ; but the attempt, however well meant, must 
prove, we fear, an utter failure. It is made unlawful, indeed, to 
punish a slave " wantonly," "without a reasonable or adequate cause," 
or " with more severity than is adequate to the fault ;" but a rule so 
vague seems so little capable of application, as to be likely to pro- 

8i Regulation of Arbitrary Punislunent. 

cluce injustice either to the slave or to his manager. It would 
be a benefit even to the manager, and save him probably from 
much inconvenience, if a power, liable to such a latitude of con- 
struction, were taken from him and placed in the hands of the 
magistrate. As to the necessity of continuing such a power to the 
owner or his delegate, which is the only ground on which its policy is, 
or can be, maintained, it may be shewn to have no solid foundation on 
which to rest. That necessity is strenuously asserted, indeed, both by 
planters and by colonial governors ; but then the very same plea 
was preferred, by the very same parties, for continuing to owners and 
their delegates the power of flogging /emaZes ; and yet the plea was 
repudiated by the King in Council ; and the power of flogging females, 
except by the magistrate, or rather by the sentence of a court of 
justice, was absolutely and entirely abolished, " It is impossible," 
said Mr. Paterson, the acting Governor of Grenada, "to comply with 
the total prohibition of the whip as an instrument of the correction of 
females," which is deemed so indispensible by Lord Bathurst. " The 
women are the most turbulent of the slaves." (See our Vol. i. No. 
11, p. 161.) The prohibition of the flogging of females, and even 
of their indecent exposure, was peremptorily refused by the Assembly 
of Jamaica in 1826, by a majority of 28 to 12. (lb. No. 21, p. 307.) 
It was also peremptorily refused in the same year by the Assembly of 
Barbadoes, who declared that, " to forbid, by legislative enactment, 
the flogging of females, would be productive of the most injurious con- 
sequences," (ibid.) and " endanger the safety of the inhabitants, the 
interests of property, and the welfare of the slaves themselves." (Vol. 
ii. p. 96.) Again say the Barbadoes planters, "The female slaves 
evince at all times a greater disregard to the authority of their owners 
than the male slaves. To deprive an owner of this mode of enforcing 
obedience, or punishing disorderly conduct, would tend to encourage a 
stronger disposition to insubordination." (Vol. ii. No. 37, p. 248.) 
" With respect to the punishment of female slaves," say the legislators 
of the Bahamas, " we deem it impracticable to substitute any other 
punishment in the place of flogging. Indeed all intelligent slaveholders 
hold that females, generally, require more frequent corporal punishment 
than males, for with them originates a large portion of the crimes for 
which males suffer." (lb. vol. ii. No. 28, p. 80.) Nay, Sir Lowry Cole 
denounces to the Secretary of State, " the conduct of female slaves 
as in many instances, in every respect, fully as bad as that of the worst 
of the male slaves." " I admit," he says, "that the abolishing of cor- 
poral punishment in the case of female slaves is highly desirable," 
yet " I conceive that bad consequences might result from its imme- 
diate prohibition." (Vol. iii. No. 52, p. 71.) — We might multiply 
similar protests from governors and planters against the abolition of 
female flogging, in which they represent it as in the highest degree 
dangerous to the peace of the colonies, and as more to be deprecated 
than even the abolition of flogging as it respects the men. But his 
Majesty's Government had the good sense and the humanity to disre- 
gard all these unfounded objections, and to adhere to their deter- 
mination to put down the flogging of females by private authority. 

Regulation of Arbitrary Punishment. 9' 

Why then, we ask, miist it be retained in the case of men ? Can a 
single adequate reason be given for retaining it, in this latter case, which 
has not been absolutely and peremptorily rejected as groundless in the 
case of women ? In fact, the government, in defending this measure 
against the clamours of the planters, have not adduced a single argu- 
ment which would not be a valid plea for the abolition of arbitrary 
flogging, by the manager, as it respects the men also. The practice is 
obviously one which, without some stringent necessity, ought not to 
be tolerated. But with our experience of the perfect safety of abo- 
lishing it in the case of the women, who compose one half of the slave 
population, it looks like gratuitous inhumanity to retain it in the case 
of the men. On the testimony of the planters themselves, the men are 
still less prone to insubordination than the women, who, for six or seven 
years past, have been wholly exempted from the whip. Government, 
therefore, we conceive, might well spare themselves the degradation of 
regulating the number of incisions of the whip which the passion or the 
caprice of any master or mistress, or of any ruffian delegate of such 
master or mistress, may inflict or cause to be inflicted on the bare 
bodies of so many of the King's subjects, and thus might their 
functionaries also be spared the odious task of minutely inspecting the 
state of wounds so inflicted. The experiment has already been suc- 
cessfully tried for six or seven years with the females ; why should it 
not be tried with respect to the males ? We press this point the 
more, because we really feel a deep debt of gratitude to our present 
colonial administration for much that they have both said and done, 
and we should rejoice to have been able to extend our eulogy still 
farther, and to have seen them and their officers rescued from the un- 
seemly necessity to which this practice has reduced them of counting 
the scars thus inflicted. We have only to turn for an exemplification 
of the indelicate and disgusting nature of these inspections to any of 
our late abstracts of the Protectors' reports. The mere allusion to the 
exhibitions which Protectors are called to witness, and Secretaries of 
State to comment upon, and which British ordinances unfortunately 
authorize, cannot even be read in our pages without raising a blush 
on the cheek of modesty. 

Then with respect to the kinds of punishment which az^e to be sub- 
stituted for flogging; ought these to be left to that ingenuity, in the 
arts of torturing, in which the Reports of the Protectors shew the gen- 
tlemen and ladies of our Slave Colonies to be such proficients ? Some 
of the instruments of domestic punishment, in common use in the 
Mauritius, brought home to England a year or two ago by the Com- 
missioners of Inquiry, were declared by Sir George Murray, on his 
personal inspection of them, to be instruments, not of correction 
merely, but of torture ; and we hesitate not to affirm that a similar 
judgment would be pronounced, by every humane man, unused to the 
domestic discipline of Slave Colonies, on some at least of the instru- 
ments which Orders in Council have sanctioned, as a substitute for 
flogging, in the punishment of females. Take those which strike 
a British ear as the most innocuous. The stocks, for example, is an 
instrument which, in England, is used solely for the purpose of re- 


10 Regulation of Arbitrary Punishment. 

straint. But in the Slave Colonies even stocks become an instrument 
of torture in the hands of masters and managers. What, indeed, can 
be more exquisite torture than to thrust into stocks, even of the 
simplest form, the feet of a lacerated slave, while forced to sit with his 
excoriated breech on a block or bench of wood ? The limbs oi females, 
it is true, cannot now be lacerated, lawfully, in the Crown Colonies, 
though they still may in the chartered ; but even in their case stocks 
are most skilfully contrived to serve the purposes of torture, being 
made to combine the worst elements of the pillory, and of the military 
picket, with a partial importation from the rack. One form of these 
instruments of punishment consists of a standing frame, in which is 
placed a slider with holes for both hands ; and, to prevent the hands 
when so placed being withdrawn, leaden weights are attached to the 
wrists of the delinquent. The hands being thus secui-ed, the slider 
may be elevated until the toes just touch the ground ; and in this 
painful position, occasionally aggravated by other ingenious devices, 
is the wretched sufferer often suspended for an hour or more. And 
yet who dreams of torture when he only hears stocks mentioned. ? 
Then we have also the bar de justice, that beautiful ornament of the 
salons of the ladies of Mauritius. We might go on to specify other 
devices of a similar description in common iise ; but we have proba- 
bly said enough to induce a doubt whether the law has sufficiently 
guarded against the cruelty of the punishments that may be substituted 
for flogging, by merely requiring that, as the criterion of their 
humanity, they should be conformed to the usual modes of domestic 

Similar remarks might be applied to the other test which this Order 
assigns, for determining the due lenity of any substituted modes of 
punishment, namely, that they are employed in common jails under 
the sanction of the magistrates. Now it were easy to shew that, in 
the common jails and workhouses, even of Jamaica, a species of rack 
has long been in general use, under the sanction of the magistrates, 
for the punishment of slaves ; and that this is not confined to slaves 
suffering under judicial sentence only, but is extended to those who 
are sent thither, at the mere caprice of masters, mistresses, and 
managers, to be punished for domestic offences, without examination 
or control, without judge or jury. AH who have visited the work- 
house of Kingston, and of the neighbouring parish of St. Andrew, 
will uiiderstand what we mean in thus alluding to the well known, 
but seldom noticed, instrument, the block and tackle, used there for 
extending, to their utmost stretch, the bared bodies of men and wo- 
men, while undergoing, in addition to the tension of this rack, the 
agonizing application of the cart-whip. 

We trust that among other expedients for effectually guarding 
against the continuance or adoption of such revolting modes of pun- 
ishment, the Government will take measures for an immediate inquiry 
on the spot; and for the immediate transmission, to this country, of a 
complete set of all those instruments of punishment now in use in the 
Slave Colonies, with the names of which indeed we may be familiar, 
l»ut of the real nature of which, we repeat, neither the Government 

Illegal and Cruel Punishments — False and Malicious Complaints. 1 L 

nor the people of this country have formed any adequate conception. 
The humane mind of Sir G. Murray was justly shocked, even by the 
comparatively harmless chains, and fetters, and collars, with their 
prongs and their other contrivances, which were exhibited to him 
as the ordinary, every-day, instruments of correction in the Mauritius; 
and he indignantly pronounced them to be instruments of torture. 
If a complete repository could be formed of these, and of all the other 
instruments of torture used in our Slave Colonies, it would do more, 
we feel, for illustrating the real nature of British Colonial Slavery, 
than all that has yet been said and written upon the subject. And to 
them it would be well to add models of the different forms of Cachot 
spread over these Colonies, and some of which are so contrived as 
to prevent the inmate of them from placing himself in any position of 
body which is unattended Avith pain. 

These remarks both on the expediency of transferring to the magis- 
trate the power of corporal punishment in the case of male slaves, 
and on the danger of leaving to the Colonial authorities the choice of 
substitutions for the whip in the case of women, are strikingly con- 
firmed by Mr. Jeremie, in his Essays on Slavery, reviewed in our 
last number. 

V. Illegal and cpvUel Punishments. — §. XLI. 

If any person is convicted of having inflicted or authorized 
slave, it shall be in the discretion of the Court before which he is 
convicted, to declare his interest in the slave to be forfeited to the 
King, in addition to any other penalty imposed upon him ; and if so 
convicted more than once, it shall be in the discretion of the Court to 
sequestrate, for his benefit, all his right in any slaves belonging to him, 
in addition to any other penalty to which he may be sentenced ; and 
any person on whom such sentence of sequestration has been pro- 
nounced shall thereupon become incapable in law to superintend, 
manage, or control any slave, on pain of being deemed guilty of a 

We could have wished that such sequestrations had been made 
imperative on the Court, after a second or third conviction. 

VI. False and Malicious Complaints of Slaves. — §. XLII. 

" If it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of any Court 
or magistrate, on the oath of one or more witnesses, that any slave 
has preferred any ealse and malicious complaint or accusation 
against his owner or manager, it shall be lawful for such Court or 
magistrate to proceed, in a summary way, to sentence any such slave 
to imprisonment with hard labour for not more than three months, or, 
if a man, to not more than thirty-nine lashes;" — but, save as afore- 
said, " no slave shall be liable to be punished by any Court or magis- 
trate, or by any other authority, in respect of any complaint or 
accusation preferred by him against his owner or manager, except 
upon a conviction for such offence duly had in some Court of com- 
petent jurisdiction; and upon due notice to the Protector." 

12 Records of Arbitrary Punishments — Marriaye of Staves. 

Wg are not sure that we fully understand this last clause. Its 
meaning, however, appears to us to be, that no slave shall be punished, 
by the authority of an owner or manager, in respect of any charge 
he may bring against such owner or manager ; nor even by the au- 
thority of any Court or magistrate; unless one witness at least shall 
testify that the charge preferred by the slave was false and malicious; 
but that, in this last case, the Court or the magistrate may punish the 
offence summarily . Now we do not understand clearly what the 
term summary implies. Does it imply, that in certain cases, a 
slave preferring a complaint to a magistrate against his owner, if he 
fail in his proof, and any one witness swears that the complaint is 
false and malicious, the complaining slave may, at once, and without 
a moment's delay, or any notice of trial, or any time for the slave 
to prepare counter-evidence or to appeal to the Protector for his in- 
terposition, have his flesh lacerated with thirty-nine strokes of the 
whip by the order not only of a Court but of a single magistrate, of 
which magistrate non constat that he may not be a slave-owner him- 
self, deeply interested in repressing the complaints of slaves ? If 
this should be the construction of the clause, then we should doubt 
whether the ends of justice would be effectually secured by it, and 
whether the law ought not to require, in every case, both the presence 
and the advocacy of the Protector, after due notice had been given him 
of the day of trial, and after a fair and full opportunity had been 
allowed, through that officer, to the slave, of preparing for his trial, and 
summoning his witnesses. All these necessary means of effectual 
defence, are at least as essential in this case, where a powerful interest 
is at work to ensure the slave's condemnation, as in any other. A 
charge even of murder could not be more obnoxious than that of 
having preferred, against his owner or manager, a false and malicious 
complaint. We trust we may be wrong in the view we have taken of 
the possible operation of the clause in question. 

VII. Records of Arbitrary Punishments. — §. XLIII. — LIII. 

The next eleven clauses regulate the keeping of the Records of 
Punishments arbitrarily inflicted by the owners or managers of slaves. 
It will not be necessary to notice such parts of these regulations as do 
not alter the provisions of the former Order. The only material 
variation from it which has been introduced into the present is, that 
any person, engaged in managing slaves, who is himself unable to 
write, may employ another person to keep his record of punishments, 
and that to such illiterate manager a peculiar oath shall be adminis- 
tered as to the correctness of the record. 

An interval of six hours is prescribed between a slave's offence and 
his punishment. In the first Orders, an interval of twenty-four hours 
was required. In the Order of 1830, no interval whatever was pre- 
scribed. We are glad to see some interval again interposed ; but ought 
it to have been abridged from twenty-four hours to six? 

VIII. Marriage of Slaves.— §. LIV.— LVIII. 
We are sorry to find the excellent regulations respecting the 

jRights of Property — Separation of Families — Manumission. 13 

MARRIAGE of slaves still deformed by the Proviso to which we strongly 
objected in the former Order of February 1830, as pointing to the 
perpetuity of the servile state ; and which bears so manifestly the 
stamp of colonial prejudice. (See Vol, iii. No. 58, p. 141.) 

IX. Slave's Rights of Property. — §. LIX. — LXIII. 

The regulations for conferring on the slave a right of property, 
and for protecting him in the exercise of that essential right, seem 
liable to no exception but what is involved in the very condition of 
slavery. The unjust bar which had been hitherto interposed, in all 
the Colonies, to the cultivation by slaves, on their own account, of any 
articles of exportable produce, we are most happy to perceive, has 
been removed by the just and enlightened policy of Lord Goderich. 
(See Vol. III. No. 58, p. 142.) 

We can see no good reason whatever to debar slaves, as is done in 
one of these clauses, from possessing boats. The apprehension of 
evil'is merely imaginary ; while the advantage would be very great in 
a variety of ways. 

X. Separation of Families. — §. LXIV. — LXIX. 

The law with respect to the separation of families is very ma- 
terially improved. Such separation is wholly and absolutely prohibit- 
ed in the case of husband and wife, parent and child under sixteen 
years, or of these reputed relations, whether by private or judicial 
sale, or otherwise. It is, however, provided that, in the case of slaves 
bearing to each other the relation of parent and child, or reputed 
parent and child, the parties may be permitted to separate, with their 
own full and free consent, and with the Protector's approbation, on 
application made to him by the parties, and on due examination had 
by him into all the circumstances of the case, and proof being adduced 
to satisfy him that such separation will not be injurious to either party. 

There is still no registry established of reputed relationships. 

XL The Manumission of Slaves.— §. LXX.— LXXV. 

Into the regulations respecting the manumission of slaves, whether 
with the consent of the owner or by compulsory process, we need not 
enter, excepting where any material changes have been made from the 
former Order. These changes are as follows: — 

1 . The necessity of giving bond for the maintenance of manumitted 
slaves is confined to cases in which owners gratuitously manumit 
slaves in a state of disease or infirmity, or above the age of sixty, or 
in a state of infancy and until the infant is fourteen years of age. The 
chief justice, however, may, in every case, dispense v/ith such bond, 
if he is satisfied that neither the welfare of the slave to be manumit- 
ted, nor the interest of the Colony, requires it. 

2. In cases of manumission by compulsory process the Protector 
shall name one appraiser, and the owner another; or if the owner will 
not or cannot name such appraiser, the right to do so will devolve on 
the chief justice, who is also to name the umpire. 

3. On proof of error, or misapprehension, or fraud, or injustice, in 
making the appraisement, the chief justice may set aside the valuation 

14 New Slave Code — Manuviissiott. 

and appoint new appraisers, and such second or any subsequent 
valuation may, in like manner, be set aside by the chief justice, until 
a valuation shall have been made which is not open to any just ob- 

4. If it shall be proved on oath to the satisfaction of the chief 
justice that any slave proposed to be manumitted shall, within five 
years preceding the date of his application, have been convicted in 
due course of law of any robbery or theft, the completion of such 
manumission shall be stayed until the expiration of the full term of 
five years from the time of such conviction. 

5. All fees on voluntary manumissions are abolished, and the 
expense attending the process of compulsory manumission is in no 
case to exceed five pounds, which shall be borne, according to the 
circumstances of the case, either by the slave or the owner respectively, 
or be equally divided between both. 

6. The clause in the former Order which suggested to the appraisers 
the various considerations that might be admitted to enhance the value 
of the slave, and that clause also which forbade any donation to assist 
the slave in obtaining his enfranchisement, (See Vol. iii.No. 58, p. 145.) 
are judiciously and humanely excluded from the present Order. We 
feel truly grateful for this change. 

The only point in these regulations which seems still liable to excep- 
tion is that which stays the manumission of a slave on proof of a 
conviction of robbery or theft during the preceding five years. If the 
slave, indeed, could be proved to have acquired the means of his 
manumission by robbery or theft, there might be some justice in refus- 
ing to allow him to profit by the fruit of his crime. But suppose it 
were clearly proved that a slave, treated and starved as slaves some- 
times are, had been driven by hunger to purloin a portion of the food 
his own labour had reared, and had been convicted of having done 
so, it would seem a very cruel case that he should, in consequence of 
such a conviction, not only have sustained the legal penalty annexed to 
his crime, but be shut out from freedom if it should be placed within 
his reach. The fault, indeed, may have been more his master's than 
his own. The temptation to commit the offence may have even been 
placed in his way for the very purpose of damaging his reputation and 
preventing his manumission ; and it must be admitted to be a very heavy 
visitation indeed, if in addition to the ordinary punishment of larceny 
he may have undergone, (for the conviction would imply that he had 
been already punished,) he should be shut out from liberty when at- 
tainable. The clause too, as now framed, may, in some cases, have all 
the unjust operation of an ex post facto law. 

While we make these remarks, we wish it to be understood, that we 
continue to deny the justice, in point of principle, of the whole 
system of manumission, by which a slave is compelled \o purchase the 
freedom to which he has the most indubitable right, and of which he 
has been deprived only by Avrong and robbery. Still, however, we 
hail with thankfulness, the additional impulse given to the cause of 
freedom by the more liberal provisions of the present code. We are 

New Slave Code — Manumission. ' 15 

still more gratified by the elevated, and statesmanlike tone adopted by 
Lord Goderich, in the discussion which has passed on the subject with 
the West Indian body. 

The West Indians plant themselves on the ground of the petition 
and remonstrance of the planters in Berbice and Demerara, argued 
in 1827 before the Privy Council ; and they express themselves deeply 
mortified to find that the present Order is still more objectionable 
than any preceding Order, and that it has even removed those two 
safeguards which found a place in the Order of 1830 ; — the direction 
to take into account the moral and useful qualities of the slave in fixing 
his appraised value ; and the prohibition of all voluntary donations or 
charitable contributions in aid of manumission. They protest against 
these omissions as incompatible with their rights of property, and impute 
inconsistency to the government for having omitted them. (Papers 
by Command for 1831, pp. 146 and 170.) 

Mr. Irving, the member for Bramber, goes far beyond his brother 
planters and merchants. He addresses a long letter to Lord Goderich, 
in a style of singular presumption, filled with utterly unfounded state- 
ments and with the most extravagant and almost ludicrous arguments. 
He takes up at some length the subject of compulsory manumission ; 
and in defiance of all the known facts of the case, facts Avhich his 
associates do not seem so hardy as to controvert, he chooses single- 
handed to affirm, that " all experience proves that liberated slaves of 
all ages and conditions almost invariably sink into a state of vaga- 
bondage, and one way or other become a scandal and burthen to 
the community." Nothing can exceed the contrast to truth evinced 
in this statement, except its malignant and hurtful tendency. 

Lord Goderich, in replying to the West India planters and agents 
on this subject, makes a variety of just and striking observations, of 
which we can transcribe but a small part. " The clause which re- 
quired the appraisers to take into account all the slaves' qualities," he 
says, " was superfluous and inconvenient :" " it could do no good and 
might do much harm." " In every country, and at every period, 
property of every description is continually bought and sold by ap- 
praisement, and the difficulty of finding an exact measure is fitter 
for the schools than for the market." Just so it is with the value of 
slaves. Rules respecting it " belong rather to a treatise on appraise- 
ments than to a law directing an appraisement to be made." Besides, 
" the silence of the law is in favour of the owner whose slave is to be 
sold." The appraisers are of his class. The more latitude of dis- 
cretion they enjoy the more will their sympathy with him operate. 

His Lordship next shews the extreme absurdity of the apprehensions 
entertained of danger from the large contributions of individuals or of 
associations to manumit slaves. One of the arguments of the West 
Indians against them is, that they dispense with all test of previous in- 
dusti-y. But if this is to prevent compulsory manumission why should 
it not also prevent voluntary manumission ? " Why not interdict 
gratuitous as well as compulsory manumissions in favour of idlers ? 
Nay the argument," he says, " is stronger if the manumission be gratui- 
tous. Caprice, personal attachments, and a variety of motives, induce 
owners to liberate slaves with little or no reference to personal charac' 

16 Presumption of Freedom or Slavery. 

ter. But Avhen money is given to the slave of another person, to 
enable that slave to acquire his freedom, the chances are that the 
slave has some peculiar merits. This is a patronage which is likely 
to be w^ell bestowed. The remonstrants themselves complain that 
their best people and most skilful labourers will be selected as the 
objects of this dreaded bounty. If so, there is then the test of indus- 
trious habits which is required." " If this objection be sustained," 
" slavery must be permanent as far as law can make it so, since even 
when the most ample compensation is tendered, the owner claims a 
right to refuse it. To require that the slave shall never buy his free- 
dom but with his own earnings, is but to say indirectly that without 
the owner's consent he should never buy it at all. That is to say, 
the law of compulsory manumission is to be established and revoked 
at the same moment. For how can a slave ever earn money if it be 
the owner's supposed interest and fixed design to prevent it?" ib. pp. 

XII. Presumptions of Freedom or Slavery. — ^. LXXXVI. 

The present ordinance has made a very important addition to the 
Slave Code, by introducing the following rules to be observed in 
determining the free or servile condition of persons alleged to 
be slaves, so often as any question of this kind shall arise in any 
court, or before any magistrate. These are : 

1. Every person whose servile state is disputed, who shall be of the 
age of 20 years and upwards, and who shall be proved to have been 
in fact, and without interruption, held in slavery for the 20 years next 
preceding the time of the inquiry, shall be presumed to be a slave. 

2. The same presumption shall have effect in the case of a person 
under 20, who shall be proved to have been a slave without interruption 
from the time of birth, and to have been born of a mother then in a 
state of slavery. 

3. In cases where a registry of slaves has not been established for 
20 years, then it shall be sufficient to carry back the proof to the time 
of the first establishment of a registry. 

4. In the absence of all such evidence as aforesaid, the person 
shall be presumed to be free. 

5. The presumption of slavery arising from such proof may be re- 
pelled and destroyed by the evidence of facts fi'om which the alleged 
slave's right to freedom may be legally inferred. 

6. The sentence of any court or magistrate shall be governed by 
these presumptions, unless they shall be repelled or destroyed in the 
manner last mentioned. 

7. The state of slavery of any person shall not be deemed to have 
been interrupted by marooning or desertion on the part of the slave ; 
or by his temporary residence in any country where slavery is not re- 
cognized by laio, (as in England for example.) 

8. The mere registration of any person as a slave shall not be ad- 
mitted, by any court or magistrate, as proof of the slavery of the 
person registered; but it shall be competent to such person, or to any 
other on his behalf, to controvert by evidence the accuracy of any such 

Presumptions of freedom and Slavery, 17 

A part of these rules, particularly the whole of the third and the 
latter part of the seventh, owe their introduction into this Order to 
the remonstrances of the West Indians. To the first of these altera- 
tions we object, because, much to the disadvantage of the slave, it 
reduces the period of uninterrupted possession, required to establish the 
presumption of slavery, from 20 to 14 years, few registries dating before 
1817. To the second, we entertain still stronger objections. It is the 
recognition, as a rule of law, of the judgment of Lord Stowel in the 
case of the slave Grace. We trust that the manifest injustice and 
inconsistency of such a recognition will be speedily obviated by a par- 
liamentary enactment. A French slave escapes from Martinique to 
Dominica or St. Lucia, and he becomes, immediately on his landing, 
a free man ; and yet a British slave may reside even twenty years in 
England ; he may have acquired there a liberal education, and have 
followed a liberal profession; he may have married an English female, 
and had children by her ; he may have sei'ved the king in a civil or 
military capacity ; and on his return to a British Colony, he may, never- 
theless, be reduced again to the degrading condition of a slave. This 
state of things, we conceive, cannot long be maintained, and we look 
with confidence to the efforts of our parliamentary friends to provide 
an early remedy. 

On this part of the case the West Indians assume a high tone, and 
urge their rights of property in the most peremptory and unreserved 
terms : Slaves are as much their property as his landed estate is the 
property of the English gentleman. We will not now enter upon this 
question. We have already largely discussed it. (See vol. ii. No. 27, 
p. 29.) We will, however, lay before our readers one extract from 
Lord Goderich's reply to their unmeasured claims. It is as follows : 

"Much is said," observes his Lordship, "on the abstract question 
of the right of the owner to his slaves, which is compared to that 
which an Englishman possesses in his land. It is scarcely worth 
while to agitate questions so abstract as this, but the particular 
analogy is obviously defective. The house and land of the English 
proprietor have no interest in the question whether they are his pro- 
perty or not. But the alleged slave of the West India owner has. 
Property in inanimate matter and in a rational being cannot stand 
precisely on the same basis. The right of the alleged owner must be 
respected, but it is also necessary to respect the right of the alleged 
slave. The peaceful occupation of a house for a day is some pre- 
sumption of title," but no one will assert that " if he can bring a 
fellow creature under his dominion for twenty-four hours he has a 
legal right to prolong that dominion unless a title to freedom can be; 
proved. Whence is the proof to come? How is the subjugated indi- 
vidual to escape in quest of it ? How is he to sustain the expence ? 
What if he be a stranger, or what if he have no manumission deed, or 
have lost or been forcibly deprived of it ? The bondage of an hour 
would give a presumption and practically an indefeasible title to hold 
him in slavery for life, if the principle contended for were admitted." 
" Possession is the single foundation on which the whole right of the 
owner rests, and when that right is questioned it is just and reasonable 

Ig New Slave Code. 

that the possession should be proved." (lb. p. 83.) In other words, 
the burden of proof ought to rest on the claimant of another's 
freedom. How strange it is that at this late hour, in the year 1831, 
discussions such as these, so directly at war with all sound principles 
of British law, not to say of common morality, should still be occupy- 
ing the time and thoughts of British statesmen ! 

XIII. Admissibility of Slave Evidence. — §. LXXXVII. 
The law here is clear and precise, and most satisfactory. It is, 
that no person shall henceforth be rejected as a witness, or be deemed 
incompetent to give evidence in any court, civil or criminal, or before 
any judge or magistrate, in any civil or criminal proceeding what- 
ever, by reason of being in a state of slavery ; but the evidence 
of slaves shall, in all courts and for all purposes, be received in 
the same manner, and subject to the same rules, as the evidence 
of free persons. 

XIV. Food and Maintenance of Slaves. — §§. LXXXVIII. and 


The following are the rules which now regulate, for the first time, 
the supremely important point of the food and maintenance of 

1. Every owner or manager shall, in the first week of January in 
each year, deliver to the Protector a declaration, in a prescribed form., 
specifying whether he intends, during the ensuing year, to maintain 
his slaves by the cultivation of ground appropriated to them for that 
purpose, or by an allowance of provisions ; which declaration shall be 
recorded in the Protector's office, and be revocable by the owner, on a 
month's previous notice to the Protector, without which notice, or 
a written authority from the Protector, under his hand, the owner 
or manager cannot change the mode of maintaining his slaves which he 
has notified. 

2. Every owner or manager, who shall propose to maintain his 
slaves by an allowance of provisions, shall be bound to supply, of 
good, average, merchantable quality, sound, and fit for consumption, 
provisions to the amount and of the kinds following, viz. : Each and 
every slave above the age of ten years shall receive, in each week, 
not less than 21 pints of the flour or meal of Guinea or Indian corn ; 
or 21 pints of wheat flour; or 5Q full grown plantains; or 5Q pounds 
of cocoas or yams; and also seven herrings, or shads, or other salted 
provisions equal thereto ; — or if these particular articles of food can- 
not be procured, he may substitute for the saihe, always either by pro- 
clamation of the Governor, or with the authority of the Protector, 
other kinds of provisions, which shall be deemed by such Governor or 
Protector to be equivalent thereto and equally nutritious ; all which 
provisions shall in no case be delivered to the slaves on a Sunday, 
but on some one and the same working day in each successive week, 
anless delayed by accident or unavoidable cause. And all owners or 
managers shall moreover, at their expence, supply the slaves with the 
means of preserving the provisions so allowed them, from week to 
week, and of properly preparing the same for human food. 

Food and Maintenance of the Slaves. 10 

3. Every slave below the age of ten years shall be supplied, in like 
manner, with one half of the before-mentioned allowance, in each 
week, to be delivered to the mother or nurse of every such infant slave. 

4. Every owner or manager, who shall propose to maintain his 
slaves by the appropriation of ground to be cultivated by them for 
that purpose, shall be bound to set apart for every slave, being of the 
age of fifteen years and upwards, half an acre of land properly 
adapted for the growth of provisions, and not more than two miles 
from the slave's place of residence; and for every slave under fifteen 
a quarter of an acre of like ground, to be set apart for the father or 
mother, or reputed father or mother, or the guardian of such infant ; 
and to every slave to whom such ground shall thus be appropriated, 
every owner or manager shall supply sucb. seeds and implements of 
husbandry* as may be necessary for cultivating the ground, on such 
slave first entering upon it. 

5. It shall not be lawful to dispossess any slave of any land so 
cultivated, until such slave shall have had full time to reap and gather 
in all the crops growing upon it ; which crops, while growing, and 
when gathered, shall be the sole and absolute property of the slave to 
whom such land was appropriated. 

6. Every slave, to whom any ground shall have been so appro- 
priated, shall, in each year, be allowed forty days, at the least, for the 
cultivation thereof, in forty successive weeks, so that from the com- 
mencement thereof, one Sunday at the least may intervene between 
every two successive days, until the entire number of forty days shall 
be completed; each of such forty days to consist of twenty-four hours, 
commencing at the hour of six in the morning and terminating at the 
hour of six on the succeeding morning ; and such slave shall by all 
lawful means be compelled to cultivate such grounds ; and owners 
and managers not so compelling them, shall be liable to provide the 
foregoing allowance, as if such ground had not been set apart for 
the support of such slaves. 

7. The penalties on any owner or manager, neglecting to make the 
declaration required, shall be £5 for the first week's neglect, £10 for 
the second, £15 for the third, and so on in arithmetical progression 
for each week the neglect shall continue. For a failure or neglect in 
any of the other regulations, respecting allowances of provisions, 
the owner or manager shall incur a penalty equal to twice the amount 
of the loss incurred by each slave in consequence of such failure or 
neglect, the sum to go to the benefit of the sufi'ering slave ; and for 
any omission or neglect, in regard to the appropriation of ground 
and the grant of the full time for cultivating it, there shall be, for every 
ofience, a penalty of ten shillings, to go to the person injured ; the 
number of such penalties being equal to the number of slaves af- 
fected by it, multiplied by the number of days on which such offences 
may have been repeated. 

* Seeds, scarcely ever used in the cultivation of the slaves, are meant, we pre- 
sume, to include slips and plants. As for implements of husbandry, those alone 
in common use, even on plantations, are the rude implements of the hoe, and the 
bill or the cutlass. Such is the hostility of slavery to all improvement ! 

30 New Slave Code. 

That, ill the weekly allowance of farinaceous or vegetable food as- 
signed to the slaves, the present Order in Council has not exceeded 
the line of the very strictest moderation, is manifest from this circum- 
stance, that although it is more than twice as much as is measured out to 
the slaves of Demerara and of the Leeward Islands, it is not more than 
the legislature of Jamaica has repeatedly assigned, as being the pro- 
per and necessary weekly subsistence of the prisoners and runaway 
slaves confined in the jails and workhouses of that colony, namely 
twenty-one pints of wheat flour and other articles of food in like 
proportion. No one can believe that this allowance, deliberately 
adopted for a century past by the Assembly of Jamaica for criminals 
and deserters, can be more than enough, if it be even adequate, for the 
due sustentation of labouring adults. 

The quantity of fish, however, which is allowed, is certainly too 
small. Even the miserable schedule of the Demerara law gives ta 
the slave two pounds of salt fish weekly. Now the present Order re- 
gulates this matter not by weight but by tale. Seven herrings, there- 
fore, the prison allowance of Jamaica, will weigh very differently 
according to their size. The Code Noir of France, which ought to 
have regulated the quantity both in the Mauritius and St. Lucia, is 
more liberal. It gives, by its 22nd clause, two pounds of salted beef, 
or three pounds of fish, weekly, to all slaves of ten years old and up- 
wards, and half that quantity to those under ten. 

At present, in Jamaica and the other Colonies where land and 
time are given to the slaves in order to grow their own provisions, a 
weekly allowance of six or seven herrings, in each week or fortnight, 
is also given. The present Order is silent on the subject, but we think 
it cannot be intended that this allowance should be discontinued. If 
it is, the new law would be in this respect a deterioration, and not an 
improvement of the condition of the slaves in those colonies. 

With respect to the alternative allowed the planters of allotting 
land to the slaves for the purpose of raising their food, it is obvious 
that it is liable to very great abuse, and requires the unceasing vigi- 
lance of public functionaries to prevent its becoming a source of the 
worst oppression to the slave. There must of necessity be found on 
every estate a great many infants and other persons who, from age 
or infirmity, are wholly incapacitated from availing themselves of such 
means of subsistence. It is true, that the Order requires that land- 
should be appropriated for the use of each slave however young ; but 
it does not prescribe by what means such land is to be cultivated. It 
can hardly be expected that a father, a mother, or a guardian should 
be able, in the time which is thought not more than adequate to be 
employed by an adult slave for his own comfortable siistenance, to 
■cultivate also the land of the children or others dependent upon him. 
What is especially wanted in this case is not the land, but the 
time and labour required to cultivate that land ; and it is obvious, 
that, to a family of infant children, the land could be of no use with- 
out the appropriation to the parent or guardian of the time and labour 
necessary for its due culture. The same principles which dictate that, 
in the case of a weekly allowance, every child, as well as every aged 

" Food and Maintenance of the Slaves. 21' 

and infirm person, shall have his portion of food duly allotted to him, 
seem also to require, that if such person is to be fed from the land 
assigned to him, he can only be so fed by a due application of that 
labour by which alone it can be made productive. 

But on this point the Order is silent; and, therefore, in this vitally 
essential respect, is clearly defective. 

But how, it may be asked, has this matter been hitherto managed 
in those Colonies where the slaves are sustained (m so far as they are 
sustained at all,) from their own provision grounds ? The plan has 
been to allot, besides the Sunday, at most, about twenty-six other 
days in the year for this purpose, leaving it to the natural affection 
of parents to take care of their infant offspring or aged relations, 
and only stepping in to remedy the defects of the system in extreme 
cases. Now if the working of this coarse and clumsy and ill regulated 
system has hitherto required, in such colonies, the appropriation of 
fifty-two Sundays, and twenty-six week-days in the year, in order to 
enable its slave population to subsist at all, then it is perfectly clear, 
that the arrangements of the present Order, on this point, are wholly 
inadequate to the exigencies of the case. For let it be remembered, 
that the slave population in Jamaica, for example, where this mode of 
providing for the slaves has prevailed, has been hitherto, under its 
operation, not an increasing, but a rapidly decreasing, population. 

The Maroons of that island, who like the slaves are negroes, in 
consequence of the sufficiency of food which their possession of ample 
time enables them to raise, increase progressively at the rate of nearly 
2^ per cent, per annum, while the slaves that surround their settle- 
ments have been progressively decreasing, and on sugar estates at a 
rate nearly equal on the average to the increase of the Maroons. 
Can any thing more clearly establish the fact, that the 78 days, 
hitherto allotted to the slaves of Jamaica for the purpose of culti- 
vating their grounds, are inadequate to their due sustentation ? If 
Jamaica then has hitherto required that 78 days in the year should be 
appropriated to this object, in order to sustain in living action a popu- 
lation still so scantily fed as to be rapidly decreasing, it is perfectly 
undeniable that at least as large, if not a much larger, portion of time 
will be indispensable to sustain, in any tolerable health, or vigour, or 
comfort, a population which it is the object of the Government shall 
increase, and not diminish, from year to year. Indeed, without this, 
what can be reasonably expected, from the arrangements of the present 
Order, but the continuance of the same rapid waste of human life which 
has marked the annals of Jamaica in each succeeding page of its his- 
tory ? And the case of Jamaica is necessarily, in a greater or less de- 
gree, the case of all the other colonies similarly circumstanced. 

But what does the present Order prescribe on this vital and all 
essential point ? It appropriates to the slaves only forty days in the 
year, for the cultivation of their grounds, in all those cases where the 
owner makes his election that the slaves shall entirely grow their own 
provisions, instead of being fed by means of a fixed allowance. But this 
portion of time, even supposing the land to be good and conveniently 
situated, is wholly insufficient for the purpose. It is in fact a most 

2-2 Neiv Slave Code. 

material abridgement of the time which the slave is now forced to 
appropriate to raising his present scanty subsistence. In Jamaica, 
and in other colonies where the slaves grow their own provisions, all 
the Sundays in the year, and twenty-six week days besides, (making 
in all seventy-eight days,) have been regularly appropriated by law 
(and we shall assume the law to have been executed) to the cultiva- 
tion of their provision grounds ; but even that time is proved by the 
results to be barely sufficient to enable them to maintain themselves 
and their families. This view of the matter, it is true, has been 
strenuously denied by some West Indian writers, but the falsehood of 
their representations has been over and over again demonstrated with 
an overwhelming force of evidence. Those who wish to see that evidence 
collected into one point, have only to read with attention the irrefra- 
gable statements in Mr. Stephen's Delineation on this subject, and along 
note which we have inserted in our second voluntte,No.41,p. 314 — 318, 
and which it will therefore be unnecessary for us to repeat in this place. 
The result of that evidence, (and it is, in every instance, the evidence 
not of abolitionists, but of West Indian planters,) is, that without the 
employment of the Sunday, in addition to twenty-six other days in the 
year, the negroes must be unable to supply their wants. Twenty-six 
days are now given to them ; but still they must labour on the Sunday 
or starve. Now what does the present Order prescribe on this head ? 
Sunday labour for the master's benefit has by that Order been absolutely 
prohibited, it being declared to be the principle and intention of Go- 
vernment, that " Sunday should be to the slave population, in all the 
Colonies, a day of entire relaxation from compulsory labour, and open 
to be devoted to religious duties and to moral instruction," and espe- 
cially that it " should be wholly clear from the demands of the master 
and the necessities of the slave." These are the words of the Secretary 
of State on the 3rd and 15th September, 1828. (See our vol. iii.. No. 52, 
p. 55.) Yet the present Order gives to the slave, for the culture of 
his grounds, only forty days in lieu of the seventy-eight days which 
were formerly considered, and even by West Indian legislatures, as not 
more than adequate to that object. Now as it is most clearly the 
benevolent intention of the Government that Sunday shall be strictly a 
day of repose for the slave, during which, indeed, he shall be invited 
and encouraged to avail himself of all the means of education and 
religious instruction within his reach, but which, with this exception, 
he shall be allowed to devote to the recruiting of his exhausted 
strength by rest from labour ; and to purposes of recreation and 
domestic enjoyment ; it is not easy to account for the appropriation to 
his use of only forty week-days in the year for his grounds ; and as 
this time must prove insufficient for his maintenance, a large portion of 
each Sunday, if not every Sunday in the year, must still be occupied 
by the slave in cultivating his provision grounds, in order, if not to save 
himself and his family from famine, at least to ensure them a subsis- 
tence. But by thi-s unavoidable, and therefore really, though in- 
directly, compulsory desecration of the day, its moral and religious 
benefits must be greatly impeded, if not wholly frustrated. The habit 
of secularizing the Sunday, and turning it from its spiritual uses to the 

Food and, Maintenance of the Slaves. 23 

ordinary pursuits of life, will not only be rendered necessary by this 
law, but will place the supreme authorities of the state in this pre- 
dicament, that while they are professing to have at heart the entire and 
exclusive dedication of Sunday to its higher and more legitimate 
ends ; yet, by their own special act, they render it impossible for the 
slave to abstain from labour on that day. We trust that government 
will re-consider the bearing of this clause on the happiness and com- 
fort of the slave, and on the success of all their purposes of elevating 
his moral and intellectual condition. Less than seventy-eight week days, 
it is clear, will not and cannot suffice in order that he may have it in 
his power to enjoy a Christian Sabbath. By the present arrangement 
also, only forty days in forty successive weeks being given to the slave, 
the slave, during twelve weeks, or one whole quarter of the year, may 
be wholly precluded from having a single day for his grounds, or even 
from bringing thence, for himself and his family, the weekly supply of 
the food they require, unless he shall occupy the Sunday with that in- 
dispensable labour. These three months also, during which he will 
thus be debarred from visiting his grounds except on Sunday, the 
planters, with whom it rests to make the choice, will generally and 
naturally fix in the season of high crop, February, March, and 
April, that they may then engross the whole time of the slave without 
interruption. But this also is the season the best adapted for clear- 
ing his own ground of trees, shrubs, and weeds, and preparing it for 
being planted, in time to meet the early rains of the year. 

This whole matter is of such prime, such vital, importance to the 
temporal well being of the slave, and to the efficiency of many of the 
other parts of this Order in Council, and more especially to the ob- 
ject of his religious instruction and moral improvement, that we shall 
be excused if we discuss it at still greater length than Ave have yet 
done. We are not now considering the larger question, whether, if 
the date of slavery is still to be prolonged, this system of throwing on 
the slaves the task of feeding themselves, under all the difficulties and 
anomalies attendant upon it, shall be continued or not. On that part 
of the question we should have much to say, if the system were now 
commencing. We shall take it as it exists. It is the plan actually 
pursued in most of our Colonies, and our present observations are in- 
tended to apply to the regulations which now, for the first time, are 
brought forward to control its abuses, and to secure to the slaves what- 
ever advantages it may really be capable of producing. To this end 
Jamaica shall still furnish us with our example. It comprises half 
of the slaves of the West Indies, and about three-fourths of those 
of them who are thus sustained. 

Previous to the first serious agitation of the question of slavery in 
this country, in 1787, Jamaica had as yet adopted no legislation 
whatever on the subject of food for the slaves. Alarmed by the 
searching inquiries which the Privy Council addressed to them on that 
occasion, especially as to the causes of the appalling waste of human 
life in the Islands, which was then for the first time brought before 
the view of the British public, its legislature drew up and transmitted 
a Report, bearing date the 12th of November, 1788, as an answer 

24 Neio Slave Code. 

to those inquiries, and as a vindication of the lenity and liumanity of 
their system. In this report, — besides the more general causes of 
decrease derived from the ordinary topics of the inequality of the sexes, 
the great mortality incurred during the seasoning of new slaves, and 
the prevailing licentiousness of manners ; we find this allegation, that 
a succession of hurricanes, which had occurred between the years 
1780 and 1787, by destroying the plantain groves, had produced fre- 
quent famine, and consequent disease from scanty and unwholesome 
food, so as actually to sweep off, from this cause alone, in the course 
of the five or six preceding years, 15,000 slaves. On the plantain 
tree the slaves had hitherto been left mainly to depend for their sub- 
sistence ; and its stately but fragile stem being wholly unable to resist 
the blast of hurricanes, the slaves were necessarily left in a state of 
deplorable destitution. 

But how came it to pass, in a country where hurricanes were pre- 
valent, that the slaves, by the admission of the legislature, were left 
to depend chiefly on this precarious resource ? The reason is obvious. 
Before 1788 no week day had ever been allowed to the slave by law for 
raising provisions. His opportunities of labouring in his ground were 
limited to the Sunday, except at the mere arbitrament of his manager. 
He naturally, therefore, turned his attention almost exclusively to the 
growth of the plantain tree, which yielded more food with less labour 
than any other article. In that year the attention of the legislature 
was at length called, both by the disastrous results of past neglect and 
by the proceedings at home, to some reform in the system. Accordingly 
in an Act, bearing date Dec. 6, 1788, various provisions were adopted 
for securing, independently of the plantain, an adequate supply of 
ground provisions, as yams, eddoes, cassada, &c., and, among others, 
the following, viz. § 17, "And whereas it hath been usual and cus- 
tomary with the planters in this island to allow their slaves one day in 
every fortnight to cultivate their own provision grounds, exclusive of 
Sundays, except during the time of crop, but the same not being 
compulsory, be it further enacted that the slaves belonging to or 
employed on every plantation shall be allowed one day in every fort- 
night to cultivate their own provision grounds (exclusive of Sunday) 
except during the time of crop, under the penalty of £10." 

The assumption that such had been the practice is in the usual 
style of West Indian legislation, taking credit for past humanity 
without the slightest evidence, even of a presumptive kind, that such 
humanity was generally exercised. By this law, however, the slave 
had now assigned to him a number of week days, varying from thir- 
teen to sixteen or seventeen, according to circumstances, in addition 
to the Sundays. Thus the law continued for 28 years without 
change, when, in 1816, during the agitation of the Registry Bill, a 
measure expressly grounded, among other reasons, on the large pro- 
gressive decrease of the slave population, arising presumptively .from 
excessive labour, and scanty feeding, the legislature passed a new 
slave law assigning to the slave, out of crop, twenty-six days in the 
year, besides Sundays, for the culture of his provision grounds ; 
and in this state the law remains to the present hour. 

Food and Maintenance of the Slaves. 25 

During the whole of this period, therefore, of 43 years, all the 
Sundays and twenty-six week days in each year have been employed, 
by the plantation slaves, in raising for themselves and their families 
the food Avhich has supported them in life, and enabled them to 
labour. And independently of all the other proofs we have it in our 
power to adduce, in order to shew that the time thus given has not 
been more than sufficient for its purpose, stands out the incontrover- 
tible fact that the slave population, especially on sugar plantations, 
not only does not increase, but is still rapidly decreasing. For the 
proof of this fact we need go no farther back than to the registered 
returns for the twelve years preceding 1830, of the slave population 
in the Plantain-Garden-River district of St. Thomas in the East, deci- 
dedly one of the most favourable districts in the whole island for the 
growth of provisions, which we have inserted in a late number of our 
work, (No. 89, p. 465). From this incontrovertible document it ap- 
pears that the decrease in that time (the births being deducted) 
amounted to 12§ per cent. Now such a dec^'ease as this, going on, 
regularly and progressively, in a climate congenial to the Negro ; in 
a country visited by no pestilence ; where the sexes were fairly 
balanced ; where there were no importations from abroad ; and 
where, during precisely the same period, and the same circumstances 
of climate, colour, and race, the Maroons, enjoying abundant time 
for raising food, increased at the rate of 30 per cent. ; must have been 
attended with much human suffering, owing, in some measure, at least, 
to the indequate supply of food. But it is obvious that no part of the 
suffering arising from this cause would have been endured, for a series 
of years, by theslaveSjwithoutmakingevery effort toescape from itwhich 
circumstances rendered possible. The gnawings of hunger will urge 
the most indolent to exertion, and those gnawings would not have 
been endured by any who had the time and opportunity requisite for 
abating their painful influences. They would not have been endured, 
at least, by men and women who had seventy-eight days in the year 
given in which they might labour to abate their intensity, withou; 
putting forth their utmost strength to obtain food. We may, there- 
fore, assume that they did so, and that, if they failed of their purpose, 
it was only because the time given was not sufficient to effect it. But 
that time amounted, during the whole period of which we speak, to 
seventy-eight days in the year. And ought that time to be now les- 
sened, and lessened too by the Act of the King's Government ? 
Ought it to be reduced, as is the case, to about one-half of its former 
amount? Is such a reduction consistent with justice and humanity? 
We appeal with perfect confidence on this point to the British public, 
to the Government, nay to the West Indians themselves. If the forty 
days actually allowed shall be made adequate, it can only by some 
compulsory process more galling than the Government would be will- 
ing to contemplate. 

And if, quitting this sure and irrefragable ground of general prin- 
ciple, we refer to minor authorities, the result is the same. Again we 
refer to our former article (vol. ii. No. 41, p. 315, &c.), for a series 
of conclusive testimonies on this subject. What says Mr. Stewart, 


26 New Slave Code. 

the author of the Past and Present State of Jamaica, (p. 318,) the 
staunch advocate of West Indian interests, and himself long a resi- 
dent in that Island ? " Few of the slaves," he says, " have it in their 
power to attend church" on Sunday ; for " Sunday is not a day of 
rest or relaxation to the plantation slave; he must work on that day 
or starve." And why must he work on that day or starve, but because 
seventy-eight days labour in the year (the number enjoyed by the 
slave in 1822 when Mr. Stewart wrote,) were absolutely required to 
keep him from starving? — Again, in May 1826, another Mr. Stewart, 
the Hon. James Stewart, Member for Trelawney, and father of the 
House of Assembly of Jamaica, tells his assembled constituents, each 
of them equally cognizant with himself of the facts of the case, " If 
we are sincere in our desire to improve the moral condition of our 
slaves, Sunday markets should be abolished altogether, and another day 
in the week be allowed the negro for the cultivation of his land, and 
the sale of his provisions." And yet, in 1826, the slave had, by the 
law of Jamaica, fifty-two Sundays, and twenty-six week days, (that is 
to say seventy-eight days) in the year, for the cultivation of his land, 
and for marketing. How then is it that the present Order, in aiming 
to supersede this law, and to rescue the slave's Sunday from the de- 
mands of his master and his own necessities, proposes to supply the 
subtraction of fifty-two Sundays labour, now allowed by that law? By- 
adding the labour of fifty-two additional week days to the twenty-six 
he already possesses ? No ! but by adding fourteen ! in short, by 
reducing his seventy-eight days, — which now afford him but a starv- 
ing subsistence, a subsistence at least so scanty as to be wearing out 
his life by inches, — to forty ! Is this possible ? If possible, is it just ? 
We again appeal and appeal with confidence, not to the British public 
only, but to the Government itself, and even to every West Indian 
proprietor who has one spark of humanity in his bosom. This law 
cannot stand : it must be changed. 

Our views of this subject will be aptly illustrated by a reference to- 
the actual state of the law, at this moment, in the island of St. Lucia. 
There it is ordained that when the master shall elect that his slaves 
shall be wholly maintained by the culture of provision grounds, he shall 
assign to them not only a sufficiency of fertile land, but ninety-one 
week-days in the year for cultivating it. (See Papers by Command,, 
for 1827, Part II. p. 160 and 162.) Now let us only compare this 
enactment, which is now in effective operation in the fertile island of 
St. Lucia, with the time which it is proposed to give to the slave in 
the inferior and worn-out soil of Jamaica, for example, and can we 
fail to be struck with its utter inadequateness to its object ? And can 
it possibly be that the ninety-one week-days, which the slaves of St. 
Lucia now enjoy, are to be reduced, by the operation of the present 
Order, to forty ? This single fact seems quite decisive of the question. 

Before, however, we entirely quit this head of discussion, we would 
once more call the attention of our readers to the Code Noir of 
France. That Code after first guarding, as we have seen, by a com- 
pulsory standard of weekly rations, against the propensity of masters 
to starve their slaves, has introduced an express prohibition, which 

Food and Maintenance of the Slaves. 27 

shews how well aware the framers of it were of the fraudulent evasions 
by which their humane object was likely to be defeated. " We pro- 
hibit the masters," says the 24th Article of the Code, " from relieving 
themselves from the feeding and subsistence of their slaves, by giving 
them permission to labour on a certain day in the week, for their own 
individual account." The specious reasons that might be opposed to 
such a prohibition, need not to be stated. They are sufficiently ob- 
vious ; and all that can be urged in defence of so casting, upon the 
slaves, the task of providing for their own subsistence, has been re- 
peatedly brought forward by the planters of Jamaica and the other 
colonies, where they have provision grounds enough to spare for the 
purpose without a sacrifice of cane lands. And there, doubtless, the 
system works well, if not for the ease, or the health, or the life of the 
slave, at least for the purse of the masters. It affords them the means 
of reducing the cost of slave labour to the price of a few herrings, 
and a most scanty allowance of clothing by the year (see Stephen's 
Delineation of Slavery, vol. ii. chapter 12), without much subduction 
from the master's time. And now, this substitute for allowances which, 
by the latest law of Jamaica, was limited to 26 week-days, besides 
Sundays, is to be reduced, in all the colonies, to only forty days in 
the year. After all, therefore, that has been promised and attempted, 
British humanity is still, on this point, behind the French by more 
than a century and a half. 

But the authors of the Code Noir were aware that a commutation of 
time for food, even at the rate of 52 days in the year, was adverse to 
the slaves ; and yet such as the masters for their own interest would 
resort to unless effectually restrained ; and that they judged right in 
this respect was proved by the event. The law indeed was too unpo- 
pular among the planters to be observed ; and though often renewed 
by the French Court continued to be ineffectual ; for in the French 
Colonies as in our own, the influence of the planters on the local au- 
thorities, generally members of their own body, was too strong to be 
easily controuled by the Government at home. In the Annals of the 
Sovereign Council of Martinique, published in 1786, we find the fol- 
lowing remarks on the 22nd and 24th Articles of the Ordinance of 
1685, which we have quoted above : — •" Ces deux articles ont ete 
souvent renouvelles depuis, sur-tout par une Ordonnance du 20 De- 
cembre 1712, enregistree le 8 Mai 1713; par une Ordonnan e du 
Gouvernment du 2 Janvier 1715, et par un Arret du Conseil du 6cMai 
1765. Mais quelque precaution qu'on ait pris a ce sujet, quelque 
severite qu'on ait mis dans I'execution de cette Ordonnance, il n'a 
jamais ete possible d'engager les habitans, (planters) sur-tout les cul- 
tivateurs de cafe, a nourrir leurs esclaves : presque tons leur donnent 
le samedi au lieu de nourriture." (Tome i. p. 262.) 

From all this it appears that the French Government well knew 
that when the slaves are left to raise their own provisions, at least 
without very ample time, much occasional and particular distress, fatal 
to the health and lives of the slaves, would inevitably follow; more es- 
pecially among such of them as were least able to sustain the hardships 
of their state — the sickly, the aged, and the feeble in constitution. 

28 New Slave Code. 

That such has been the ordinary consequences of casting the sub- 
sistence of the slaves on their own voluntary industry and prudence, 
is no disputed fact in the Anti-Slavery controversy, but is as generally 
acknowleged on the one side as asserted on the other. (See Stephen's 
Delineation of Slavery, vol. ii, p. 270, and the whole of the 4th 
Section of chapter 8, with the authorities there cited.) 

What, then, is to be done ? Are the economical advantages of sus- 
taining the slaves, where practicable, by indigenous food raised by their 
own labour on the master's land, to be renounced? By no means. But 
unless a much larger sacrifice of time than has yet been thought of, shall 
be made, we concur with the same able writer (Mr. Stephen, see his 
Delineation, vol. ii., p. 274,) that the right system in the home fed 
Colonies is, that which is in actual and general use in Barbadoes. An 
adequate supply of native provisions is there raised by the common 
labours of the gang on the master's land, and brought to his stores and 
thence distributed to individual slaves ; a plan, however, which need 
not and ought not to preclude the allotting to them portions of land, 
sufficient to exercise the voluntary industry of all who are strong 
enough to improve their condition in that way. 

Such was the system partially in use in the French Islands, and 
intended to be enforced there by successive ordinances of the Crown, 
as well as by various regulations of the local authorities, almost from 
the first settlement of those Colonies. By a Royal Ordinance, for 
instance, of 1723, the proprietors of estates were required to plant a 
sufficient quantity of manioc or cassada for the subsistence of their 
slaves. The Governors and Councils seconded, by various orders and 
regulations, the intentions of the Crown ; and successive Royal Ordi- 
nances imposed serious penalties on every planter transgressing the 
rule, and on Colonial officers of the Crown who should concur in its 
fraudulent evasion, " But," says the Author of the Annals of the 
Sovereign Council of Martinique, " all the precautions that could be 
taken have always been useless. The planters know how to elude 
the penalties imposed, and never plant the quantity required by the 
regulations, though it appears that a duty had been imposed on the 
officers of the Crown in the different districts to inspect periodically 
the plantations of manioc, and certify their sufficiency," The reason 
given is instructive to legislators for Colonies in the West Indies of 
whatever nation. " Quel est I'habitant (the planter) qui voudra 
servir de denonciateur contre son voisin, son ami ? Le capitaine 
commandant du quartier est souvent dans le cas, lui-meme, de la 
contravention a I'ordonnance. Ainsi cette visite ne tourneroit qu'en 
pure perte, et jamais personne ne seroit puni," (Les Annales, &c. 
Tome i, pp, 487, 488.) 

Compare the present Order also with the Ordinances of Spain and 
Portugal on the same subject. These allow to the slave not only his 
fifty-two Sundays, but fifty-two week days, and thirty holidays, 
making in all 134 days for his own exclusive purposes, whether of 
subsistence or marketing ; more than three times, and even, without 
Sunday, more than double the number assigned to him by the present 
Order; (see Reporter, vol. ii. Supplement to No, 37, p. 2.53,) 

Duration of Labour. 29 

It is important also to remark that, in Jamaica, the labour of the 
slaves in their provision grounds, even on Sundays, has always to this 
hour been more or less compulsory. 

XV. Duration of the Labour of the Slave. — §§. XC. — XCVI. 

We next come to another new and almost equally important branch 
of the subject — the regulation of the duration of the labour 
OF the slaves. The following are the rules there laid down, viz. : — 

1. No slave shall be compelled or bound to engage in, or perform, 
any agricultural or manufacturing labour, before the hour of six in the 
morning, or after the hour of six in the evening ; and all slaves, em- 
ployed in any such labour, shall be and are hereby declared to be, en- 
titled to an entire intermission and cessation of every description of 
work and labour from the hour of six in each evening, until the hour 
of six in the next succeeding morning. And all slaves so employed 
as aforesaid shall be allowed, and are hereby declared to be entitled 
to, an entire cessation and intermission of every description of work 
and labour from eight till nine in the morning, and from twelve till 
two in the afternoon, of each and every day throughout the year ; 
provided nevertheless that the hours of intermission of labour in the 
case of slaves employed in manufacturing, may be allowed to them at 
any other period of the day, if an interval of not less than three, or 
more than six hours intervene between such intermissions, and if those 
intermissions are of the same duration respectively. 

2. No slave under the age of 14, or above the age of 60, and no 
female slave known to be pregnant, shall be compelled or required to 
perform any agricultural work or labour, during more than six hours 
in the whole, in any one day of 24 hours from six in the morning to 
six in the next succeeding morning ; and no slave under 14, or above 
60, and no pregnant female, shall be employed in any such labour in 
the night-time. 

3. As it may be necessary, however, at certain periods of the 
year, occasionally to employ slaves in certain manufacturing processes 
in the night-time, nothing hereinbefore contained is to be construed 
to extend to make such night employment illegal, provided that no 
such slave shall be required or compelled to labour for more than nine 
hours in the whole, on any one day of 24 hours from six in the morn- 
ing, to six in the next morning. 

4. No slave shall be compelled or required to perform any task- 
work, for a greater number of hours in the day than is hereinbefore 

5. If any owner or manager shall violate or neglect any of these 
rules relating to the labour of slaves, or if he shall compel or require 
any slave to pick or carry grass, or to perform any other labour in 
breach of this Order, he shall, for every such offence, incur a penalty 
of not less than 20s. nor more than £10, which penalties shall be as 
numerous as the slaves so illegally employed at any one time. 

We will not attempt to express all the gratitude we feel for this 
enactment on the subject of labour. Though nine hours of field la^ 

30 New Slave Code. 

hour under the blaze of a tropical sun is quite as much as any human 
animal should be compelled to endure, nay, it is much more; yetif these 
limitations are made effectual, they will do more to abate the cruel 
malignity of Colonial Slavery with its average daily toil of fifteen or 
sixteen hours, than any or even all of the other mitigations. Though 
they will leave to the master nine hours of severe labour in a day, 
which is much more than is yielded by free labourers in any other 
part of the tropical world, (see vol. ii. No. 27, p. 37, and Stephen's 
Delineation,) yet these alone made effectual, we are persuaded, would 
put an end to some of the worst and most deathful evils of a system 
which, if not wholly extinguished, would still continue, notwithstand- 
ing this partial improvement, to be a source of perpetual injustice and 
suffering to the slaves, and of guilt to the nation. 

XVI. Clothing and Bedding of Slaves. — §§. XCVII. — XCIX. 


1. Every owner or manager of slaves shall be bound, in each year, 
in the month either of January, or June, to deliver to every slave the 
following articles, viz.: — ^To every male slave of the age of 15 years 
or upwards, one hat of chip, straw, or felt, or other more durable 
material; one cloth jacket; two cotton check shirts; two pair of 
Osnaburg trowsers ; two pair of shoes; one blanket; one knife ; and 
one razor. To every female slave of the age of 13 and upwards, one 
chip or straw hat ; two gowns or wrappers ; two cotton shifts ; two 
Osnaburg petticoats; two pairs of shoes ; one blanket; and one pair 
of scissars. To every male slave under 15, one hat, one cloth jacket, 
one pair of trowsers, and one pair of shoes ; and to every female 
slave under 13, one chip or straw hat, one gown, one shift, one petti- 
coat, and one pair of shoes ; and for the use of each family in each 
year, one saucepan, and one kettle, pot, or cauldron, for the cooking 
of provisions. 

2. The Protector may authorise the substitution of any other article 
of clothing or household utensils for those above enumerated, so as 
in his judgment they be equivalent; and all the articles, whether 
those enumerated above, or those that may be substituted for them, 
shall be of good average mercantile quality. 

3. The neglect to comply with these regulations, as to clothing and 
furniture, will be visited with a fine equal to twice the value of the 
articles withheld, to be applied to the use of the slave injured by such 

4. Every owner or manager is required to supply each slave with a 
wooden or iron bedstead, or with boards so arranged as to enable 
every slave to sleep during the night one foot at least above the 
ground ; under a fine of five shillings for each neglect in respect 
of each and every slave, which fine shall be again incurred from week 
to week as long as such neglect shall continue. 

XVII. Attendance on Divine Worship. — §§. C. CII. and CIII. 
These Clauses provide as follows for the attendance of slaves on 

divine worship. 

1. It shall be laAvful for every slave of the age of ten years and 

Attendance of Slaves on Public Worship. 31 

upwards, and such slave is hereby authorized and entitled, on each 
and every Sunday, and on Good Friday, and Christmas day, to attend 
divine worship in any church or chapel, not more than six miles dis- 
tant, and shall, for that purpose, be authorized to resort to any such 
church or chapel, provided he be not absent from home more than six 
successive hours for that purpose ; and be not so absent before the 
hour of five in the morning, or after seven in the evening. And any 
owner or manager who, by threats or in any other manner, shall pre- 
vent any slave from resorting as aforesaid, or who shall correct or 
punish any slave for having so done, shall, in respect of each and every 
such slave, incur a separate penalty of not less than £2, nor more 
than £10. 

2. The above provisions, as to the attendance of slaves at public 
worship, shall apply to all churches and chapels belonging to the 
churches of England and Scotland, and to all places of worship be- 
longing to other religious persuasions the officiating ministers of which 
shall have received a license from the Governor or the Secretary of 
State; provided that such worship takes place with open doors, and 
that no slave shall be entitled to attend at it, between the hours of 7 
in the evening and 5 in the morning, except with the express consent 
of his owner or manager ; and provided that nothing herein contained 
shall be construed to extend to slaves incapable of labour from bodily 
indisposition or other causes, or to slaves confined in prison, or to slaves 
habitually employed, on other days of the week, as domestic servants. 

The chief remark we have to make under this head is, that we are 
utterly at a loss to conceive one good reason for the restrictions, in- 
troduced into clause C. on the slave's disposal of his Sunday. Hitherto 
it has not been usual so to confine him as to the distribution of his 
Sunday hours, except in crop time, when the mill was often put 
about on a Sunday evening, or sugar boiled ofi" or potted on a Sun- 
day morning; or out of crop, when grass was to be gathered on 
Sunday night, or his allowances distributed on Sunday morning. There 
were no other restrictions ordinarily thought of, except what arose from 
the master's encroachments on the legal rights of the slaves, or from 
his dislike of religious instruction. The slave might set off on 
Saturday, when his work was done, and travel to the distant market ; 
and out of crop might spend the whole Sunday in his grounds, or if 
he had no grounds, where else he pleased, (when there was no grass col- 
lecting) till he appeared at his labour in due time on Monday morning. 
Or he might spend the whole of the interval between the close of his 
labour on Saturday, and its recommencement on Monday, with his 
wife and family, on a plantation moderately distant. No incon- 
venience was ever experienced, by the owner or the community, from 
this unrestricted license of the slave as to the secular employment of 
Sunday, provided only it did not interfere with the owner's illegal 
exactions of labour on that day, or with the due cultivation of his 
own grounds. Why then should such restrictions on the religious 
employment of the Sunday be now introduced ? It is not intended 
that the slaves should either draw their allowances on Sunday morning; 

32 New Slave Code. 

or collect grass for the cattle on Sunday evening* ; or put the mill 
about on Sunday night. Why then must they, on their only free day, 
be abridged of thfeir enjoyments and fettered down to measuring 
their hours and minutes of recreation, or of their opportunities of at- 
tendance on Divine worship or Christian instruction ? Why may they 
not be allowed to attend the early service of Methodist or Dissenting 
chapels, for example, at five or six in the morning, and again at five 
Qr six in the evening; and employ the intervals, both themselves and 
their children, in the Sunday Schools universally established at such 
Methodist and Dissenting places of worship? Of such facilities they 
will be deprived by the needless rigour of the present rules. — 
Again, why should they be debarred from visiting, as long as they 
please, during their own Sundays, their families, relations, and friends, 
on distant plantations, or in towns, and spending the whole day in their 
society, and attending with them their places of worship? Besides, in 
many cases, chapels or churches are not to be found within the pre- 
scribed distance of six miles from the slave's home, the nearest being 
often at a greater distance. What is he to do in this case? Even in 
the small parish of St. Dorothy's, in Jamaica, the parish church is 
about ten or twelve miles from parts of the parish; and, in most of 
the other parishes of that island, much farther. What then, we say, 
is to be done in such cases? To restrain the slave, anxious for Christian 
instruction or even for elementary knowledge for himself and children, 
from seeking it where he can alone find it, and to tether him thus down 
to a given space, and to given hours, without a single provision that 
within that given space, and those given hours, he shall find the op- 
portunities of knowledge which he desires, is to defeat the purpose of 
the enactment, and can be productive of no advantage either to 
master or slave. . Such a rule must have originated in that wakeful 
solicitude, which the planters have too often manifested, to obstruct 
the progress of religious knowledge among their slaves, and to per- 
petuate their moral and intellectual depression ; and they must have 
mislfed the government by some plausible representations which have 
no foundation in fact ; some pretended plea of benefit to the slave 
from such unnecessary restrictions ; thus to have succeeded in putting 
a drag-chain on negro improvement. We earnestly hope, therefore, 
that this clause may be revised vi^ith a view to secure the Sunday free- 
dom of the slave, and to enable him to draw from the otherwise 
excellent provisions of these clauses, all the good which they are so 
well calculated to afford. 

XVIII. Medical Attendance on the Slaves. — ^§. CIV. and CV. 
By these clauses it is required that every person, owning or 
maiiaging forty slaves or more, shall engage, to visit his slaves at least 
once i^ fourteen days,* a medical practitioner, who shall keep a journal 
of :th'8 health of each gang he attends; in which journal he shall, once 
in eaclf fourteen days, record the general state of health of such gang; 

* The practice on the larger and well regulated estates, is for the medical 
attendant to visit them once or twice in the week. 

New Slave Code — Miscellaneous Regulations. 33 

and enter the name of each sick slave, specifying such as are dis- 
qualified for labour, and prescribing such medicine and diet as may 
be proper. A copy of this journal shall be communicated to the 
owner or manager, who shall be bound to supply sick slaves with 
such medicines or nourishment and to allow them such relaxa- 
tions of labour, as may be recommended and prescribed by the prac- 
titioner; and every such practitioner is bound, on the Protector's 
requisition, to produce to such Protector a copy of such journal ; 
and in case of any acute or dangerous disease of any slave, the owner 
or manager shall employ, at his own cost, a medical practitioner for 
the treatment and cure of the same. Any owner, or manager, or 
any medical practitioner, refusing or neglecting to perform any matter 
or thing here enjoined, shall, for every such offence, incur a fine of 
not less than £2, nor more than £20. 

XIX. Miscellaneous Regulations.— (§^. CVI.— CXXI.) 

The remaining clauses of this Order have respect to matters of 
general and miscellaneous regulation, and need not long detain us. 

1. Wilful or fraudulent erasure, interpolation, &c., in any book, 
record, or return, required by this Order, is made a misdemeanour. 

2. Every misdemeanant shall be liable to a fine of not less than 
£10, nor more than £500, or to imprisonment from one to twelve 
months, or to both fine and imprisonment. 

3. Perjuries committed under this Order shall be punished as the 
law of the Colony punishes wilful and corrupt perjury. 

4. Fines incurred by Protectors shall be sued for, in the supreme 
criminal court of the Colony, by any person lawfully authorized to 
prosecute crimes ; and the whole amount of such fines shall accrue to 
the king. 

5. Fines incurred for offences less than misdemeanours may be 
recovered, in a summary way, by the Protectors, before any judge of 
the Supreme court, or of the court of Vice-admiralty ; such judges 
being armed with all due authority for that purpose which judges 
ordinarily possess. 

6. Governors are authorized to commit, in remote parts, the exercise 
of the jurisdiction given to judges by this act, to subordinate officers 
of justice, by whom these powers shall be exercised, and before whom, 
or before any judge, the Protector may, at his option, prefer any com- 
plaint; the decisions of inferior judges being subject to the review of 
the chief civil judge, whose judgment in all cases shall be final. 

7. The judges of the supreme court, with the Governor's approba- 
tion, shall make, establish, or alter rules of proceeding in all colonial 
courts, which rules shall be framed in simple and compendious terms, 
and so that the costs shall not exceed twenty shillings in any case. 

8. All misdemeanours shall be prosecuted, and all fines not other- 
wise directed shall be recovered, in the supreme court of criminal jus- 
tice of the Colony, by any person lawfully authorized by the king to 
prosecute; and the penalties, in cases not hereinbefore otherwise pro- 
vided for, shall go to the king, and shall be applied to defray the 
expense attending summonses and other proceedings under this Order. 


34 Miscellaneous Regulations — Conclusion. 

9. All fines are to be recovered, as expressed, in sterling money. 

10. The proclamations and orders of the Governor, and the regula- 
tions of the judges, shall all be consistent with and not repugnant to 
this Order, and shall be transmitted for His Majesty's approval; and 
till disallowed shall have the same force and effect as this Order. 

11. The Protectors are to make their Reports, half yearly, of all 
matters and things they are directed to report upon in this Order ; and 
till that is satisfactorily done, the Governor shall not issue to the Pro- 
tectors the warrant for their preceding half year's salary ; and such 
Reports are to be transmitted by the first opportunity to the Secretary 
of State. 

12. It is further declared and ordained, (and a most momentous 
declaration it is,) that "no law, statute, ordinance, or proclamation, 
now or at any time heretofore in force, within any of the said Colonies, 
or which shall hereafter by any Governor or Local Legislature of any 
such Colony, be made, enacted, ordained, or promulgated, in so far as 
the same may, or shall be in any way repugnant to, or inconsistent 
with the present Order, shall be binding on His Majesty's subjects 
in such Colony, or be of any force, virtue, or effect therein, or shall 
be recognized as legal or valid, by any Court, judge, justice, or 
magistrate, within such Colony, unless the same shall have been ap- 
proved and confirmed by His Majesty with the advice of his Privy 
Council." , 

13. The Governor of every Colony shall, within one calendar month 
next after the present Order shall he received by him, make known 
the same by proclamation in such Colony; and the said Order shall 
be in force in fourteen days after the date of such proclamation and 
not before; and the Right Hon. Viscount Goderich is to give the ne- 
cessary directions herein accordingly. 

Having thus given a full view of the various provisions of the new 
Slave Code, freely commenting upon them as we proceeded, we shall 
now perhaps be expected to express some opinion as to the general 
effect of the whole enactment. It is intended more immediately to be 
imposed upon the Crown Colonies, in each of which it is to come into 
operation within six weeks, at the farthest, after it shall have reached 
the hands of the Governor. Its formal adoption as the law of those 
Colonies will be a matter of course, as in them the power of legisla- 
tion rests wholly with the King in Council. The only point, therefore, 
which is matter of doubt respects its due execution when it shall have 
become law. This point also, however, rests in a great measure with 
the Crown. The Crown may, and alone can, secure its due execution. 
Were we to judge, however, by our experience of the past, we 
should not be very sanguine in our hopes of its efficiency. We 
have hitherto witnessed, in most of the Colonies, much neglect and 
misconduct on the part of the public functionaries intrusted by the 
Crown with the administration of the slave laws. V/e have indeed seen 
iheir misconduct sometimes reprehended by the government, but, in 
very few cases, visited with the punishment due to the violation of 

Conclusion. 35 

their high duties. We may look in succession to the twenty Slave 
Colonies belonging to the Crown, and find, in too many of them, that 
among those who have been the most effectually opposed to the 
benevolent purposes of his Majesty's Government have been the chief 
officers of the Crown — the Governors and their Secretaries ; the 
Judges and Attorney Generals; the Procureurs General and Fiscals; 
the Protectors and the Registrars of slaves ; with almost the whole 
body of the local magistracy. With the exception of some of the 
Commissioners of Inquiry and a very few Judges and Governors, 
they seem to have been animated, throughout the whole extent of 
these scattered possessions, by one prevalent purpose to retard, if not 
to frustrate, the plans of Government for improving the condition of 
the slave population. And, in general, they have pursued this course 
with perfect impunity, and in some cases, with favour and reward. 
The present Government however, we believe, are fully convinced, 
that it is only by a more vigorous system of control and super- 
vision, and by an unsparing and relentless infliction, upon public 
functionaries, of the just penalties of their neglect or misconduct, 
that even the best laws can be made available to the protection of 
the wretched slave from oppression and wrong. If the law now 
passed were faithfully executed, we cannot doubt that it would 
produce very beneficial consequences, and obviate much suffering. 
The Government have done much, where we admit it was difficult to 
legislate at all; and they have at least reflected honour on themselves 
by the humane and beneficent purposes generally manifested through- 
out every line of this Ordinance. Even those parts of it which we 
have viewed with regret, and on which we have deemed it our 
duty freely to animadvert, indicate the very best intentions on the 
part of those who framed them, however those intentions may have 
been warped or frustrated by the misinformation of interested or 
prejudiced parties. 

But, if doubts might fairly be entertained as to the effective 
operation of this greatly improved Code, even in the Crown colo- 
nies; it will not be expected that we should indulge any very 
sanguine hope of its efficiency in the colonies that are chartered. 
In the first place, what hope is there even of its adoption by any 
one of the petty legislatures which crowd the Antilles, and which 
exhibit there, each on its little stage, nothing better than a kind 
of mock parliament, a puppet-shew representation of the solemn 
functions of legislation? Equally absurd and preposterous are the 
loud menaces, which issue from the 300 white males of Grenada, 
or the 500 white males of St. Vincent's, or even the four or five 
thousand white males of Jamaica, of vindicating their right to 
oppress the 25,000 black subjects of the King in either island, by 
throwing off their allegiance, and daring the might and majesty of 
Great Britain. The folly and madness of such conduct in all the 
Colonies whether small or great are so manifest and glaring as wholly 
to disentitle them to any choice as to the adoption or rejection of laws 
which go to secure the well being of the slaves, and to protect them 
against the effects of a dominion such as theirs. In truth, the British 

36 Conclusion. 

iiarliament alone can fulfil this task ; and every day that its interference 
is delayed, in the vain hope that just and humane laws will be assented 
to and passed by the petty parliaments of the Antilles, will only add to 
the embarrassments, and may we not add, to the fearful dangers of the 

But^ven supposing that, under the influence of fear, the colonial 
legislatures were to adopt this new Code to the very letter, as Lord 
Howick, on the 15th of April last, intimated that it was the intention 
of his Majesty's Government to require them to do, on pain of 
fiscal inflictions ;* there would still remain the same and indeed far 
greater difficulties, in the execution of it, than have been found, or 
are still apprehended, in the Crown colonies. And what is the con- 
clusion to which all this brings us ? It brings us irresistibly to this 
conclusion, that slavery is a wholly untractable and unmanageable 
subject ; and that there is only one way of applying an effectual 
remedy to its multiplied and still unmitigated evils — namely, its 
extinction, its total extinction, and the elevation of the slaves to the 

* We confess that we have not very clearly understood the course which in 
this respect it is intended by the Government to pursue ; but whatever it be, we 
cannot anticipate any favourable results which do not involve vexatious delays and 
difficulties, endless disputes, and slow and dubious reformation or even ultimate 
retractation. In prolonged discussions, on a subject so delicate, which are to be 
conducted between the Government and Thirteen Colonial Legislatures, assuming to 
be independent, separated from us by the wide Atlantic, and of whose deep rooted 
prejudices, and reckless disregard of truth, we have had such frequent proofs ; we can 
contemplate nothing but procrastination and disappointment. The means of mis- 
representation are so numerous, and the motives to it so potent; the difficulties 
of investigation so great, and the scene of it so remote ; that years might be con- 
sumed in fruitless controversy without any substantial progress in the work of 
reformation. Nor can we discover any benefit which is to be attained by this in- 
direct and unsatisfactory method of attaining the object in view, whilst the Govern- 
ment, with the aid of Parliament, are themselves constitutionally entitled at once 
to reform the legislation of these Colonies, and effectually to control the conduct 
of all Colonial functionaries. Is there not something timid and compromising 
in admitting the general prevalence of crime in the Colonies, and that the lives of 
His Majesty's subjects there are hourly sacrificing by men over whom we possess 
a legal control, while our power alone maintains their usurped dominion ; and 
yet pursuing such an indirect, circuitous and uncertain course, as instead of im- 
mediately placing the happiness and lives of our fellow subjects under the 
guardianship of just laws, shall leave them to the tender mercies of those who, by 
their past oppressions, have shewn themselves altogether unworthy of the trust ? 
Let it be carefully kept in view that the great mass of those, to whom the exe- 
cution of this difficult and delicate experiment is proposed to be committed, are 
not themselves the proprietors of the slaves, having an interest however remote 
in their well-being ; but hireling attorneys, managers and overseers, men nurtured 
and hardened amid the practical evils and crimes of slavery, unaccustomed to 
control their pride, their passions, and their prejudices, and much more likely to 
be incited by these powerful feelings to wreak their spleen and even vengeance 
on the unhappy slaves while still in their power, than to be restrained from vio- 
lence, by any influence arising from the prospect of the distant benefit which may 
accrue to an employer, whom they may never have seen, and in whose prospective 
gains they have at least no direct participation. An Act of Parliament, and an 
Act of Parliament alone, can terminate all these difficulties, and wipe away froCQ 
this land the disgrace and the guilt of such a system. 

Instructions of Lord Goderick to Governors of Crown Colonies. 37 

possession of their rights as men, and their privileges as subjects of 
the British Crown. Nothing short of this will satisfy the British 
public ; for nothing short of this can put a period to the miseries of 
slavery, or deliver this country from the guilt and the crime of con- 
tinuing to uphold it. 


Before we finally quit the subject of the New Slave Code, we must 
advert to some parts of the correspondence, to which it has led on the 
part of the Government, and which has recently been laid before Par- 
liament by His Majesty's command. And in the first place we think it 
our duty to express the satisfaction and gratitude with which we have 
marked the tone of the circular despatch of Lord Goderich, of the 5th 
November, 1831, addressed to the Governors of the Crown Colonies, 
and accompanying the New Order in Council on its transmission 
thither. It does him very high honour and entitles him to the respect 
and confidence of every humane and liberal mind. 

" I now enclose," says his Lordship, " for your information copies 
of two Orders of the King in Council. Of these, the first revokes the 
existing laws for improving the condition of the slaves ; the second 
establishes a new code for that purpose. I also transmit copies of 
the different representations against this design which have reached 
the Council Office and this Department. I trust that the Orders are 
sufficiently clear to convey their own meaning distinctly ; nor shall I 
attempt to elucidate by any commentary a law which must at last be 
carried into effect, not with reference to my views of its meaning, 
but according to such interpretations as it may receive from the com- 
petent legal tribunals. A task, however, remains for me which I 
must not decline, although it will involve a discussion of very un- 
usual and inconvenient length, I must explain how far the objec- 
tions raised in the accompanying documents to the details of this 
Order have prevailed, and what are the motives which, notwithstand- 
ing those objections, have been thought to require a steady persever- 
ance in the general principles of the law, and in a large proportion of 
the enactments contained in the original draft. I engage in this 
labour with the less reluctance, because it will afford me an opportu- 
nity of canvassing, by anticipation, some of the more considerable 
objections which will probably be urged by the resident Proprietors," 

" First, — It has been urged that an inquiry before a Committee of 
the House of Lords into the actual condition of the slaves of the British 
Colonies, should precede any legislation for the improvement of that 
condition. Great ignorance and misconception are said to prevail on 
the whole subject, not only amongst the people of this country at 
large, but even with the official advisers of His Majesty. Until that 
ignorance be dissipated by the information to be laid before the pro- 
posed Committee, a moral incapacity for the task they have under- 
taken is imputed to the Lords of the Privy Council ; and it is pre- 
dicted that increasing knowledge will strengthen or create the convic- 

38 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies, 

tion, that no safe and judicious measures can originate with any other 
authority than that of the legislative bodies, which, under various 
appellations, exist in each of the Colonies to which the proposed 
Order would apply. 

" Whatever weight might be due to these objections, if the scheme 
of legislation by Order in Council were for the first time to be tried, 
it is obvious that they have now lost much of their original force 
or plausibility. The practical question in debate is, not whether 
laws for the improvement of Slavery shall emanate from British or 
Colonial authorities, but whether the existing Orders of the King in 
Council require revision and enlargement. 

" The ignorance of the real state of the Colonies which is attributed 
to the Lords of the Privy Council in the year 1831, was imputed to 
their Lordships, in terms not less peremptory, in the years 1824 and 
1830. Since the dates of the Orders promulgated in those years, 
the amount of knowledge possessed in Europe on this subject has 
certainly not diminished, and may, with reason be supposed to 
have been largely augmented. It would be an invidious office to 
quote the predictions with which endeavours v/ere made to prevent or 
delay the promulgation of the preceding Orders. It cannot be asserted 
more confidently now than it was maintained then, that the gross 
ignorance of the framers of the law would be detected as soon as an 
attempt should be made to enforce obedience to it ; that it would be 
found impossible to proceed at all ; or that an entire abandonment of 
the estates would be the penalty Avhich the Proprietors would have to 
pay for the presumption of the Government. Yet, which of these 
forebodings has been verified by the result? The Orders of 1824 and 
1830 have encountered no serious difficulty. They have been carried 
into full execution, nor have I yet heard of the abandonment of a 
single plantation. It cannot, then, be unreasonable to question the 
real superiority of that knowledge which, in defiance of this practical 
refutation, is still claimed to themselves by the gentlemen connected 
with the Colonies ; nor can I think it presumptuous to suppose that 
a task, executed with so much success seven years ago, may be 
undertaken with still better prospects of a prosperous issue at present, 
with the benefit of all those additional lights which have been collected 
together during that interval, 

"It is assumed, throughout the reasoning of the Remonstrants, that 
the Order proceeds upon some vague assumption that the slaves are 
labouring under great oppression and wretchedness, or upon the 
supposition that the owners are collectively persons in whom it is im- 
possible to repose that degree of confidence which is due to all men 
who are not actually convicted of crime ; and it is urged that laws 
framed under so gross a misapprehension of the real condition of the 
slave, and of the real character of his owner, cannot but be pregnant with 
injury to both. No representation could be more inaccurate than that 
which is thus given of the principles on which His Majesty's Council 
proceeded, in the advice which they humbly tendered to the King on 
this occasion. The existence of unusual oppression on the one side, 
and of extreme wretchedness on the other, was not assumed as really 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 39 

true, nor even adverted to as a probable truth, in forming either the 
present or the former Orders. The Ministers of the Crown did not 
yield themselves to the guidance of any such indefinite assumptions. 
They considered the subject in a more distinct and practical method. 
In the years 1824 and 1830 a careful review was taken of the Slave 
Code as it then existed in the different Colonies. It appeared, at the 
former of those periods, that there was not, in any colony, any indivi- 
dual at once charged with the duty and armed with the power of 
enforcing obedience to the laws made for the protection of the slaves ; 
and the Protector, and his Assistants were therefore invested with 
that responsibility, and armed with the powers necessary to sustain it. 
The existence of Sunday markets being admitted, that abuse was pro- 
hibited. In the same manner the use of the whip in the field, as a 
stimulus to labour; the punishment of women by flogging ; the power 
of convicting and punishing slaves by the domestic authority of the 
owner, without a previous or subsequent report to any magistrate ; 
the prevalent disuse of marriage, and even the legal incapacity to enter 
into that contract without the owner's consent ; the inability of a 
slave to acquire property except by sufferance, and his incapacity to 
sue or be sued in respect to such property as local usages permitted 
him to possess ; the right of the owner to separate at his pleasure the 
nearest natural kindred from each other ; the inability of a slave to 
purchase his enfranchisement without his owner's consent ; the impos- 
sibility of manumitting a slave belonging to infant children or remote 
reversioners ; the want of any guarantee to the slave that the money 
paid for the purchase of his freedom should not be lost by a defect in 
the title of his supposed owner ; the silence or uncertainty of the law 
as to what should constitute a legal presumption of freedom or of 
slavery; the exclusion or qualified admission of the evidence of slaves; 
the want of rules respecting their food, at once specific in their terms 
and adequate in their amount ; a similar silence of the law on the 
subject of clothing, furniture, medical attendance, and the hours of 
labour and repose ; and a general want of cheap and compendious 
methods for recovering penalties when the Slave Code had been 
violated : — ^These were parts of the Colonial Slave Code, which were 
first amended by the authority of the King in Council, to some extent, 
in the year 1824. Those amendments, having been consolidated and 
further extended in the year 1830, have been completed by the Order 
which I now transmit. This state of the law was a matter of fact, of 
which the evidence was as readily accessible in England as in the Co- 
lonies. Whatever might be the condition of the slaves, and whatever 
the conduct of their owners, the necessity for supplying suchdefects and 
remedying such abuses in the law as these, was, in the years 1824 and 
1830, evident and indisputable. These are precisely the defects and 
the abuses against which the former Orders were directed, and which 
the present Order proposes to remedy more effectually. It is not, 
then, in deference to any vulgar prejudice respecting West India 
Slavery, nor is it by substituting vague theory for specific information, 
that His Majesty's Government have directed their course. They 
have, on the contrary, grappled with specific evils, the existence of 

40 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 

which was generally admitted even by the enemies of the measure, 
and which, if denied, might at once have been proved by an appeal 
to all the Slave Codes of Colonial origin. How far it is wise to supply 
these defects in the law, except on proof of specific evils resulting 
from them, is a question to be noticed hereafter. For the present I 
confine myself to the remark, that the general charge, of ignorance of 
the subject to be handled, may be safely met by this enumeration of 
the specific topics of the law ; and by the inquiry — where is the danger 
of mistakes being committed in Europe, rather than in the West 
Indies, as to the effect of a written code which may be perused with 
equal deliberation in either country ? 

" In denying that the Government have been floating on the tide 
of popular prejudice, or impelled by vague theories, I do not mean 
to assert that they have not adverted to those great general princi- 
ples by which every wise lawgiver is directed ; on the contrary, it is. 
precisely because they have fixed a stedfast eye on those principles, 
and because they are accessible alike to all who will take the pains to 
study them, that I again repel the charge of ignorance which is so 
confidently urged. The Ministers of the Crown are not ignorant that 
unrestrained power must and will be abused. They know that an 
unpopular law will never be executed by voluntary agency. They are 
assured that the natural distinctions of colour and origin, coinciding 
with the artificial distinctions of unlimited authority on the one hand, 
and absolute subjection on the other, cannot but tend to induce pride, 
contempt, and ill usage. They believe that the law which makes one 
man the proprietor and another the property, and which delegates, to 
the proprietary body, all powers — legislative, judicial, magisterial, and 
domestic, cannot but be the fertile source of abuses. In possession 
of these and similar principles. His Majesty's Government cannot 
suppose themselves so unfitted for the task of legislation as their im^ 
puted ignorance would imply. 

" If it be indeed true that they who have devoted much time, in 
England, to the study of this question, are still ignorant of its bearings, 
that ignorance must be admitted to be incurable. During the last 
■eight years every slave colony belonging to the British Crown has 
been agitated with the discussion of these questions. Whatever lights 
•could be afforded by local experience, and whatever criticisms could 
be supplied by the utmost eagerness of controversy, have been brought 
to bear, not merely on the general principles of the Orders of 1824 
and 1830, but upon each of their most minute details. Several folio 
volumes containing the official correspondence on this subject have 
been printed by His Majesty's command, and laid before both Houses 
of Parliament. It would be difficult to mention any code, the pro- 
mulgation of which was ever preceded and followed by a more severe 
scrutiny into its supposed errors and probable consequences. The 
Colonists especially have enjoyed the most unlimited opportunity for 
explaining their own opinions and illustrating them by evidence. The 
reasonings urged and the proofs adduced by the various Councils, 
Assemblies, Public Meetings, and Private Disputants, who have par- 
ticipated in this controversy, have been printed at the public expense. 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Croion Colonies. 41 

and transmitted, both in their original form, and in the shape of 
abstracts and epitomes, to every Member of Parliament, and almost to 
every individual who has taken a prominent part in this discussion. 
If this protracted debate has failed to convey to- His Majesty's Govern- 
ment the necessary information, to whom but the Colonists themselves 
can that failure be attributed ? And what is the assignable length of 
time within which the requisite amount of knowledge could be brought 
together ? 

" To the alleged ignorance and consequent incompetency of the 
Ministers of the Crown to frame such a law as the present, I have still 
another answer to make, to which I find it scarcely possible to anti- 
pate a satisfactory reply. It is, that the code denounced as indicating 
so absolute a want of knowledge of the state of Colonial Society is, 
in substance and principle, the work of the Colonial Legislatures 
themselves. I use the terms ' in substance and principle' advisedly, 
in order to indicate more exactly the real distinction between the 
accompanying Order and those local laws which have suggested all 
its principal provisions. No one Legislature ever adopted them all ; 
but neither is there any one leading principle which some one or 
more of the Legislatures will not be found to have sanctioned. The 
Colonial Enactments to which I refer are, however, without a solitary 
exception, deficient in those regulations on which the real efficacy of 
laws, destined to encounter so much prejudice and opposition, must 
altogether depend. To supply such regulations, to infuse a living 
and active spirit into a Code which, from the want of them, has been 
too much a dead letter, has been the great object of the framers of 
this Order. Assuming to themselves the full responsibility for the 
wisdom of those rules, they at the same time are willing to give to the 
Colonial Legislatures, collectively or separately, the credit of having 
suggested or recognised all the principles to which those rules are 

His lordship proceeds to illustrate this statement by a lengthened 
induction of particulars, which it would be possible very considerably 
to enlarge. They are sufficient, however, for his lordship's purpose. 
" They comprise," he observes, " the substance of the whole of the 
Order in Council which accompanies this despatch, and will suffi- 
ciently verify the general assertion, that no one principle has been 
introduced in favour of which the authority of some one or more of 
the Colonial Legislatures cannot be cited. Thus then, the imputa- 
tion of ignorance, in attempting to mitigate the condition of slaves by 
such enactments, is met by an appeal to the example of those from 
whom the charge proceeds. 

" If it be replied, that the adoption, by so many local legislatures, 
of so large a portion of this law, disproves the necessity of resorting 
to any other authority than theirs ; the answer is at hand. No one 
legislature has adopted them all ; nor have any of those bodies 
framed their laws in such a manner as to give any real security for 

"■ Still, it will be urged, that even if the official advisers of the 
Crown possess the information necessary to qualify them for the work 

42 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Croum Colonies, 

in which they have engaged, the Colonial Legislatures have the same 
knowledge, at least in an equal, and probably in a much higher de- 
gree, and that, therefore, their claim to be intrusted with the prepara- 
tion and original enactment of all improvements in the law of slavery, 
is irresistible. With the most perfect respect for the gentlemen who 
compose these bodies, I must venture to observe, that an exact know- 
ledge of the particular society in which a law is to operate, is not the 
only qualification for a legislator. It is not even the highest or the 
most important. For so arduous an office, it is still more requisite 
that the lawgiver should possess the habit of dealing with large prac- 
tical questions, a freedom from local and personal prejudices, an ab- 
sence of all such personal interests as could warp his judgment, and 
a mind open to the admission of truth in whatever direction it may 

" Without supposing men resident in Europe to possess any supe- 
rior capacity to persons of equal education and corresponding rank in 
life in the Colonies, I cannot think it unreasonable to believe that 
they possess in a higher degree the qualifications to which I have 
referred. A gentleman who has passed his life on a plantation in the 
West Indies, or in the legal tribunals of those colonies, may know 
much respecting the state of slavery, of which the most profound 
reasoners and the most practical statesmen in Europe are ignorant. 
But I cannot admit that this proximity of observation is an infallible, 
or even a safe guide to sound conclusions. If the colonists know 
much of which others are ignorant, they are also inevitably ignorant 
of much which others know. They have few opportunities of study- 
ing the progress of public opinion throughout society at large. They 
unavoidably live in a contracted circle, which is agitated by petty 
feuds and pecuniary embarrassments. In those colonies, neither 
learned leisure, nor literary and scientific intercourse, nor even the 
more liberal recreations, are commonly to be found. The white in- 
habitants regard themselves as living in a temporary exile, and are 
looking to a distant country as their home. The members of the 
local legislatures are contending for the maintenance of their own 
domestic and political authority, for the protection of their supposed 
and immediate interests, and in the defence of their collective and 
personal reputation. While irritated, not perhaps unreasonably, by 
injurious language, they are at the same time alarmed by predictions 
of approaching anarchy and ruin. These circumstances have pro- 
duced in them precisely the same moral incapacity to legislate on the 
subject of slavery, which they would have wrought in the minds of any 
other individuals who had been placed in a similar situation. It is 
not, therefore, presumptuous or irrational to think that a better slave 
Code could be formed in England than in the colonies, — better, not 
only for the slaves, but for their owners, — better adapted to the real 
exigency of the occasion, — and better suited to avert those desperate 
changes which all parties concur in deprecating. 

" For these reasons I conclude that there is no adequate ground 
for the imputation of ignorance which is advanced against the authors 
of this law, and no necessity for deferring its promulgation until an 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crowii Colonies. 43 

inquiry into the real state of West Indian slavery shall have taken 
place before the proposed Committee of the House of Peers. 

" It is objected that sufficient time has not been aftbrded for as- 
certaining the influence and effects of the laws recently promulgated 
for the improvement of the condition of the slaves, and that it is pre- 
mature to advance to a new experiment, until the success of those 
which preceded it has been ascertained. 

" As this remark is made rather in reference to the acts of the colo- 
nies possessing representative assemblies, than to those of the Crown 
colonies, it is the less material to scrutinize its accuracy on the pre- 
sent occasion. I must, however, observe, that the several Acts of 
Assembly to which this appeal is made, have at least no apparent ten- 
dency to accomplish the ultimate extinction of negro slavery ; that 
their general tendency is even in the opposite direction ; that they 
are replete with unjust and arbitrary rules ; and that unless a suc- 
cession of men shall appear ready to devote themselves to obloquy 
and unrequited toil, in carrying the remedial provisions of those sta- 
tutes into effect, they must remain a dead letter. In proof of these 
assertions, I again appeal to the voluminous printed correspondence 
of the last eight years. 

"■ With reference to the laws promidgated in the Crown colonies, it 
is in direct contradiction to the real fact to say that their effects still 
remain to be ascertained. I gladly acknowledge that they have pro- 
duced many important benefits. But the half-yearly reports of the 
Protectors, which exhibit the actual results in the most complete and 
circumstantial manner, demonstrate that if much has been done, there 
is yet much which, with a view to the effective execution of the law, 
remains to be accomplished. 

" The time selected for the promulgating of this Order is con- 
demned, on account of the excitement which is said to prevail at pre- 
sent in the West Indies, and on account of the commercial distresses 
by which it is asserted that the planters are driven to despair. 

" If, indeed, these feelings are thus prevalent, no one will dispute 
that it is the duty of the Government, as far as their power may 
extend, to tranquillize those who are agitated, and to animate the 
desponding. But these feelings, like all others, must be brought into 
subjection to dispassionate reason, unless it is intended that the 
affairs of the world shall obey the impulses of every blind and pre- 
cipitate passion. If the excitement be that of a very small numerical 
minority who may have surrendered their better judgment to the in- 
fluence of anger or alarm, I would, with all tenderness and respect, 
remind them, that the times in which we are living imperiously call 
for the exercise of a more firm and collected temper. But if the 
excitement be that of the great mass of the people ; if it be founded 
on just grounds and stimulated by the consciousness of their own 
powers ; then I can perceive, in such a state of public feeling, con- 
clusive reasons for making promptly, and with cheerfulness, those con- 
cessions which must be made at last. 

'' The existence of severe comnfiercial distress amongst all classes 
of society connected with the West Indies is unhappily but too 

44 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Croxun Colonies. 

evident. Yet what is the just inference from this admitted fact ? 
Not, certainly, that the proprietary body should yield themselves to 
despair, and thus render the evil incurable ; but rather that we should 
deliberately retrace the steps of that policy which has had so disas- 
trous an issue. Without denying the concurrence of many causes 
towards the result which we all so much deplore, it is obvious that 
the great and permanent source of that distress, which almost every 
page of the history of the West Indies records, is to be found in the 
institution of slavery. It is vain to hope for long continued prosperity 
in any country in which the people are not dependent on their own 
voluntary industry for their support ; in which labour is not prompted 
by legitimate motives, and does not earn its natural reward ; in which 
the land and its cultivators are habitually purchased and sold on 
credit ; and in which the management of that property is almost in- 
variably confided, by an absent proprietary, to resident agents or to 
mortgagors who are proprietors only in name. Without presuming 
to censure individuals for the share they may have taken in maturing 
this system, I cannot but regard the system itself as the perennial 
spring of those distresses of which, not at present merely, but during 
the whole of the last fifty years, the complaints have been so frequent 
and so just. Regarding the present Orders as a measured and cau- 
tious, but at the same time a decided, advance towards the ultimate 
extinction of slavery, I must, on that account, regard it as tending 
to the cure of the pecuniary embarrassments which it is said to en- 

" Much complaint is made of the Order as not referring and adher- 
ing to the coiistitution and legal rights of each separate colony, 
and as embodying, in a general ordinance, regulations designed for 
colonies widely dissimilar in local circumstances, laws, and rural 

" I have no wish to exaggerate or overstate the present argument ; 
and will admit unreservedly, that there would be some advantage in 
making a distinct code for each separate colony. I must, however, 
at the same time maintain, that the disadvantages of that mode of 
proceeding would be far more numerous and considerable. At the 
present moment, the Order of February, 1830, is in force alike 
throughout all the Crown colonies ; and when I compare together the 
slave codes which were actually framed by the local authorities, I do 
not perceive in them the traces of that accommodation of the law to 
their peculiar habits and institutions, which is thus urgently demanded 
when the task of legislation is undertaken in this kingdom. On the 
contrary, it will be found that the variations between the different 
local enactments refer almost entirely to general principles, and not 
to local and accidental peculiarities. But the general principles 
ought to be very nearly, if not altogether the same, in every colony 
where the relation of master and slave is known. The same neces- 
sity exists in them all for effective protection ; for repose on Sunday ; 
for the regulation of punishment ; for securing to the slaves the rite 
of marriage ; for the defence of their property ; for preventing the 
separation of families ; for the facility of manumission ; for the ad- 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 45 

missibility of slave evidence ; for protection from excessive labour ; 
and for an adequate supply of food, clothing, and medical attendance. 
This is all which the law enforces ; and these are wants, not local, but 
co-extensive with the state of slavery itself. 

" Nor is conformity in the slave codes of the different colonies un- 
important on other grounds. It renders the execution of the law 
more easy and secure. The lights discovered in one colony are 
found useful in corresponding exigencies in another. Comparisons 
between the progress of improvement in different colonies are readily 
and accurately made, and the King's Government in this country 
have a distinct view of the system, the execution of which they are 
ultimately called to superintend. 

" The objection also proceeds on the assumption that sound policy 
requires the maintenance, in the British colonies, of codes and institu- 
tions so diversified as to forbid the gradual assimilation of their laws. 
To that opinion I cannot subscribe ; but must, on the contrary, be- 
lieve that it has been a great error, in the colonial policy of this 
country, to overlook the expediency of bending local peculiarities to 
the general principles of one common legislation ; and I can scarcely 
suppose a more fit opportunity than the present for uniting together, 
by a general law, settlements which are all parts of the same empire, 
and which are all deriving their white population, their language, and 
their commercial capital from Great Britain. 

" I must not pass over without notice an argument adduced in a 
letter addressed to me by Mr. Irving, the member for Bramber, who 
professes to act as the agent for some persons in Mauritius. He 
maintains that the proposed codes will virtually emancipate the slaves 
in the British colonies, and thus stimulate the Foreign slave trade ; 
so that, in attempting to do good, the government will in reality be 
producing the most serious evil. Where the inference is so mani- 
festly untenable, I cannot think it worth while to debate the premises. 
If neither the state, nor individuals, are to do justice, without an ab- 
solute certainty as to possible consequences which are beyond their 
own control, the great rule of right is at an end, and every one may 
plead the probable injustice of another in defence of his own delibe- 
rate wrong-doing. I can never consent to oppose a temporary and 
apparent expediency to those eternal obligations which religion founds 
upon the law of God, and which morality derives from an expediency 
which is permanent and universal. I will not attempt to prevent the 
Foreign slave trade, by refusing justice to the slaves in his Majesty's 

" It is objected that the enactments of the proposed law are con- 
ceived in a harsh tone, and imply such a distrust of the owners as will 
deter all men of liberal feelings and reputable character, from under- 
taking the office of manager, and that thus the general character of 
society will be injured. 

" This law, I admit, proceeds throughout on the assumption that 
unlimited power will be abused, and, as the practical inference from 
that principle, it supposes the necessity of subjecting the authority of 
an owner over his slaves to a constant and vigilant control. The 

46 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Croivn Colonies. 

reproach, if so it must be regarded, is directed, not against individuals, 
nor even against any particular body of men, but against that nature 
of which all men partake in common. It were idle to legislate at all 
on the subject, without adverting to the ordinary motives of human 
conduct, and the ordinary influence of the temptation which attends 
the possession of power. It might with eq"Ual truth be said, that the 
English statute book is a satire on the people of England by their 
lawgivers. No magistrate, no hirer of mechanics, no owner of a 
cotton mill, is exempted from the reach of that suspicion and distrust 
with which the legislature regards those who stand in the superior re- 
lations of society. Amongst the objections to the Truck bill, it was 
not urged by the master manufacturers that it injuriously ascribed to 
them a disposition to advance their own interest at the expence of the 
artizans in their employment. I know not why the gentlemen who, 
in the subordinate character of agents, exercise a delegated authority 
over the slaves, should arrogate to themselves a purity of moral con- 
■duct and a superiority to self-interest, to which, under circumstances 
of far less temptation, one of the most wealthy, well-educated, and 
important classes of society in England, did not venture to lay 

" The sensitiveness of feeling, which, it is said, will indispose 
honourable men to act as managers while this law continues in force, 
is, I think, not much to be apprehended. Remembering what are the 
motives which really attract men across the Atlantic, in quest of such 
employment, there is no room to doubt their continued influence. Aw 
honest man, who is brought into a situation which justly renders him 
obnoxious to suspicion, will rather court than shun the most minute 
inspection of his conduct. 

" It is then remarked that the law will increase the public burdens of 
the Colonies, and that the additional charge cannot be borne. 

" I may fairly claim to myself credit for the utmost anxiety to re- 
duce the public burdens of the Colonies, since from the moment 
of my acceptance of the Seals of this Office, I have been employed 
in measures tending to that result, many of which are now in active 

" I trust that the increased expence of a few assistant protectors 
will be abundantly provided for by the savings already made, and 
which remain to be made, in other departments. But the charges ne- 
cessarily incurred for the protection of the slaves are the very first and 
the highest of all the claims on the colonial revenue, and in whatever 
direction parsimony must be practised, His Majesty's Government 
cannot consent to the exercise of it in this. 

" Whatever property exists, or has ever existed in the Colonies, is 
the direct fruit of the labour of the slaves. That this labour has 
never received its due compensation is matter of absolute certainty. 
Slaves still bear, and have always borne, a high price in the Colonies. 
Why is it that any man finds it worth his while to purchase a labourer? 
The answer plainly is, because his labour is worth more than the cost 
of the maintenance he is to receive. The price paid is a fair criterion 
©f the amount of the wages which have been kept back, and of the 

Instructio7is of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 47 

loss sustained by the labourer. I cannot be a party to so gross an 
act of injustice as to refuse the slaves, from the property created 
at their expence, "whatever may be required for their adequate pro- 

"The remonstrants, (adopting the language of the Jamaica As- 
sembly of 1826,) object to the office of Protector. They denounce 
him as a spy : they maintain that the laws are already respected ; 
that the introduction of such an officer from a distant country for 
such purposes, is an unheard-of anomaly ; that the protectors will 
look for reward and praise to the enemies of the Colonies ; that the 
most innocent actions will be distorted ; that the cultivation will be 
abandoned ; and the slaves rendered valueless. 

" To this I can only oppose an answer which has already been re- 
peatedly given. I cannot admit that the names of Hhe Colony,' and 
' the Colonists,' are justly assumed, by the proprietary body, to the ex- 
clusion of the labouring class. At this distance from the scene, the 
colony and the colonists may be recognised rather in the myriads of 
slaves, than in the hundreds of managers and owners. An unpopular 
law, for the execution of which no individual is responsible, is, and 
must be, a dead letter. If the anomaly of slavery exists in society, 
it must carry other anomalies after it. A spy is a hard word ; but 
injurious terms cannot be accepted as proof of misconduct. When 
unlimited power is placed in private hands, some one there must be 
to see that it is not abused ; and his function is neither more nor less 
useful and honourable, because a legislative body gives it an oppro- 
brious name. It is easy to say, and I should rejoice to believe, that 
the laws are well executed. The contrary is inferred, not from isolated 
cases of cruelty, but from the admitted and indisputable facts which 
are regularly disclosed in the reports of the various protectors. This 
institution is no novelty of the year 1831. It was established 
several years ago throughout the crown colonies, and has not hitherto 
produced the threatened insubordination, nor any abandonment of 
the estates. 

" Great objection is made to the power given to the protector to 
enter estates and negro huts to communicate with the slaves. It is 
described as a vexatious police, and it is remarked that the right i& 
not to be exercised at seasonable times only, but at all hours. 

" It is not the fault of the legislator that all the advantages of free 
institutions cannot be enjoyed in a land of slavery. Anomalies beget 
each other. The law has given to one of the king's subjects the right 
of confining two or three hundred of his fellow subjects within the 
precincts of his estate. I do not dispute the existence, nor would I 
impede the exercise, of this right. But is it consistent to complain 
that such a property is laid open to an inspection unknown in other 
countries ? As to ' seasonable hours,' it is not stated what the expres- 
sion means. Is it the hours of the day, or of the night ? In the day, 
the protector's visits would be unseasonable, as impeding the labour, 
and in the night, as interrupting the repose, of the slaves. Thus the 
protector would be kept out of the estate altogether. The law, as 
drawn, gives the protector his own choice of the time, because evert 

48 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 

so, his opportunities will be sufficiently few, and because an intercourse 
with the slaves, at times fixed beforehand, could afford them little 
facility of communication. 

" Respecting- inquests on slaves who come by their death suddenly, 
it is observed, that no suflicient provision is made for collecting a jury. 
I allow that all that is done, and I think that all that could be done, 
is, to introduce this part of the law of England, ' as far as local cir- 
cumstances may admit.' No one who possesses the slightest know- 
ledge of colonial affairs can be ignorant that such legislation is resorted 
to constantly in them all, and that the seeming difficulty has been 
continually surmounted. But it is added, the human body after death 
decays too soon for this purpose in tropical climates ; a fact not to 
be disputed, but which, as I think, only shews the additional power 
of concealment, and the peculiar need of the best practicable investi- 
gation. There is more justice in the remark, that the pecuniary 
penalty for not giving notice of the death of a slave, should attach to 
free persons only, and the Order has been amended accordingly. 
That no inquest is directed to be holden on the body of free persons 
is true. The reason is obvious. This is a law exclusively for the pro- 
tection of slaves. 

" The distillation of rum, it is observed, cannot be suspended on a 
Sunday, though even in England the distilleries are worked on that 
day. Of course if the process be commenced late in the week, it will 
be so. But why should this be ? I cannot venture to deny, that in 
this, as in all other cases, some inconvenience and some sacrifice must 
be incurred by a resolute adherence to justice.* 

" Great complaint is made of the penalties denounced against the 
punishment of slaves without a reasonable and adequate cause, and 
against punishments more than adequate to the offence. All this is 
condemned as ' vague, loose, and contrary to the most approved prin- 
ciples of legislation.' Nothing is more obvious than the answer. 
What power is so vague, so loose, and so contrary to approved prin- 
ciples as that with which the law invests the owner ? He may and 
does punish every action and gesture which are opposed to his peculiar 
views and notions of duty. The list of crimes of which the punish- 
ments are recorded in the Protectors' Reports, are such as no human 
legislature ever attempted to define. Amongst them, for example, 
are disobedience, insolence, uncleanly habits, indecent language, 
quarrelling, and the like. If male slaves are to be whipped, and 
females confined in the stocks upon such vague and loose charges, how 
can the abuse of such authority be prohibited, except by the use of 
terms equally large and indefinite ? Make the power precise, and the 
interdict against the abuse may be precise also. In the practical en- 

* The truth is, that the objection of the West Indians has no foundation in fact. 
Not only is not the distillation of rum continued throughout the week, and not sus- 
pended on Svmday ; but it is not continued, in general, for more than from twelve 
to fifteen hours each day, being suspended every evening, and again recom- 
menced on the following morning. If the objectors maintain the contrary, it is 
only a proof of their absolute ignorance of local circumstances. 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 49 

forcement of the law, the judge must, of course, have a discretion^ 
which, in some degree, shall be the counterpart of that with which 
the owner is invested." 

Among other objections urged by the West Indians to the mode 
prescribed in the Order in Council, for provisioning slaves, and ably 
replied to by Lord Goderich, is the following. 

" Children under the age of fourteen are required not to be worked 
more than six hours daily. The remonstrants against this Order state 
that children of ten years of age, are capable of working as long at 
their employments as adults. I cannot venture to adopt an opinion 
of which the practical effect would be to subject children of this ten- 
der age, to the existing rule, which requires only eight hours of con- 
tinuous repose out of the twenty-four. If, it is added, a child of ten 
years be allowed the food of an adult, it is inconsistent to give him 
more repose. Every father of a family, every keeper of a school, 
and every workhouse keeper, is, I believe, aware that the appetite of 
children is mature before their strength, and that a boy will never 
attain manly vigour whose natural cravings for food are not satisfied. 
For the great work of education also, leisure would be entirely wanting 
if such exertions were exacted from the young." 

His Lordship thus concludes this truly able and luminous despatch, 
and the admonition it conveys to Governors we trust will long vibrate 
in their ears. 

" I have thus laboriously travelled through both the general and 
the specific objections of those who have remonstrated against this 
law, from an anxious desire to demonstrate that, on so important an 
occasion, the Ministers of the Crown have not proceeded without the 
utmost circumspection, and the most exact inquiry. I do not delude 
myself by the expectation that the measure will not have to encounter 
serious difficulties. But the exigency of the occasion, is such as to 
demand from the King's Government, decision and firmness — from 
yourself, the utmost exertion of your authority and influence, — and 
from all classes of the King's subjects in the colonies, a calm and de- 
liberate review of the position in which the great question of Negro 
Slavery stands. It would be a fatal illusion to suppose that the pro- 
gress of ameliorating measures, tending to the ultimate extinction of 
slavery, by cautious and gradual means, can be averted. No man 
who has watched the progress of public opinion in Europe, can avoid 
this conclusion. It is in no unfriendly spirit, but on the contrary with 
feelings of the deepest anxiety for the welfare of the proprietary body, 
that I would most earnestly and respectfully urge this fact on their 
attention. To embark in a contest upon this subject, of which the 
result could not but be unfavourable, and might be most disastrous to 
those who should provoke it, would be but to add to the amount of 
that distress which no men more freely acknowledge, or more deeply 
deplore, than the official advisers of the Crown. It would be difficult 
to exaggerate the anxiety I feel to prevent so calamitous a result, and 
I persuade myself that it is best avoided by such legislation, as that to 
which this despatch refers ; which, on a calm review of the subject, 
will, I trust, be found to concede to the slaves nothing more than 

50 Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies. 

strict justice demands, and to offer to their owners the best practicable 
security for the peaceable and quiet enjoyment of their property." 

No less vigorous and energetic are the instructions issued by Lord 
Goderich, to the Governors of the Crown Colonies, on the 14th Nov. 
1831. We lay the following extracts from it before our readers. 

" On collating the Order of the 2nd of November, 183-1, with that 
of the 2nd of February, 1830, you will perceive that the last Order 
has, in some instances, determined absolutely, matters which the pre- 
ceding Order refeiTed to the discretion of the Governor. The reasons 
which dictated this change of policy may partly be inferred from the 
printed Parliamentary Papers, containing the correspondence between 
the Governors and this Department, and pointing out the manner in 
which the designs of His late Majesty, in the promulgation of the 
former law, had, in many respects, been defeated by ill-considered 
proclamations, issued under its authority. An additional reason for 
withholding, as far as possible, this subordinate power, was the desire 
of securing the Governors from solicitations, which it might be alike 
necessary and difficult for them to resist. It has been my careful 
study to narrow your discretion, and proportionably to diminish your 
responsibility, as far as possible, on the present occasion, because 
nothing can be at once more painful in itself, or more injurious to the 
great object with a view to which the Order has been framed, than 
the species of discussion between the Secretary of State and the heads 
of the local governments, to which the last Order gave birth. 

*' But while thus exempting you from the responsibility of origin- 
ating certain subsidiary enactments, it is most remote from my 
design to decline, or to depi'eciate, the value of your assistance in 
carrying the Order into effect. On the contrary, I regard that as- 
sistance as absolutely indispensable to the success of the whole design. 
If my despatch of the 5th instant should fail to convince you of the 
importance which the Ministers of the Crown attach to the obser- 
vance and complete execution of this Order, I have no language which 
could adequately convey that impression. 

" But I persuade myself that there is no serious danger of my being 
misunderstood on this occasion. It is in the spirit of the most perfect 
respect for your person, and of reliance on your judgment, that I 
acquaint you that His Majesty will expect from, the Governors of all 
His Colonies, not a mere acquiescence in the provisions of this Order, 
but a zealous, energetic, and persevering effort to carry it into com- 
plete effect; and to surmount those difficulties of which, in my des- 
patch of the 5th instant, I have avowed my full anticipation. I will 
not contemplate what I trust may be esteemed the most improbable 
contingency of any Governor adopting a contrary course, and yield- 
ing himself to those panics and discontents which it is his first duty 
to allay ; for I could scarcely advert to that topic without using the 
language of warning in a manner which might, if not properly under- 
stood, be supposed to imply an undue distrust. 

" The 40th Clause of the Order has delegated to you the regula- 
tion of the punishments which are to be inflicted on females in substitu- 
tion for the punishment of the whip. I cannot but direct your most 
careful attention to the manner in which this power shall be exercised » 

Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Crown Colonies, 51 

It has been stated in an official report from the Protector of slaves at 
St. Lucia, and in other ways, that the punishments to which women 
have been subjected since the promulgation of the law of February, 
1830, have been even more cruel and more degrading than those 
from which it rescued them. The field stocks are especially mentioned 
as instruments of torture, such as, in Europe, the vilest criminals are 
no longer permitted to undergo. Whatever may be the accuracy of 
these statements, they at least suggest a caution of the highest import- 
ance. They point out the possibility of a very gross abuse, the re- 
sponsibility for which would rest altogether with the Governor who 
had authorised the use of such modes of punishment. In the procla- 
mation which it may be your duty to issue on this subject, you will 
most exactly bear in mind the injunction contained in the 40th Clause 
of the Order which requires you to ' prescribe with all practicable pre- 
' cision the nature and extent of the punishments to be substituted 
' for the punishment of whipping in the case of female slaves, and to 
* make all such rules and regulations as may be necessary for pre- 
' venting and punishing any abuses in the infliction of such substi- 
' tuted punishments.' 

" In carrying these powers into effect, it will be fit that no punish- 
ment subjecting women to direct bodily pain should be sanctioned, 
except as a last resource in cases of contumacious resistance to lawful 
authority; or in cases where the offence may be such as to imply 
unusual moral debasement on the part of the offender. For the 
crimes of insolence, neglect of work, disobedience to orders, late- 
nsss in coming to work, abusive language, violence of demeanour, 
and many others of the domestic offences which fill the catalogue of a 
Protector's half yearly return, personal chastisement by confinement in 
the stocks is scarcely a more inappropriate punishment than the whip 
itself. In these cases inflictions must be resorted to, which suppose 
the existence of the sense of shame, and which may operate rather on 
the mind than the body of the sufferer ; or, if bodily privations be 
necessary, they may be found in some temporary change of diet, or 
in some privation of the personal freedom of the offender, during her 
hours of intermission from labour. The stocks, if it be really neces- 
sary to resort to them at all, must be reserved for the graver offences 
of drunkenness, marooning, and similar delinquencies, which indicate 
a character more than usually reckless of the opinion of those with 
whom the offender associates. Even in such cases, you will not per- 
mit the employment of stocks as an instrument of punishment, with- 
out a most minute regulation of their shape and size, and of the dura- 
tion of the punishment, and of the intervals which must elapse 
between successive punishments. For example, there should be a 
model for the stocks to be used, which model should be carefully in- 
spected and approved by yourself, the Chief Justice, and the Protec- 
tor of Slaves ; and every deviation from that model, on the side of 
increased severity, should be declared unauthorized and punished as 

" It is not without a full sense of the difficulty of the task I thus 
impose on you that I issue these instructions ; and I. am fully prepared 
for the answer with which I am already so famiHar, that such distinc- 

SI Instructions of Lord Goderich to Governors of Croivn Colonies. 

tions as these are the growth of mere theory, and would never be 
regarded as either important or practicable by any one who had a 
personal acquaintance with Slavery as it actually exists in the British 
Colonies. I must, therefore, say by anticipation, that neither the 
difficulty nor the supposed vmfitness of this undertaking will be ac- 
cepted by His Majesty's Government as an apology for declining it. 
They strictly require that the attempt thus to regulate the personal 
punishment of women by the domestic authority of their owners should 
be made, and that the result of that experiment should be fully and 
fairly ascertained. It will be time enough to abandon the enterprise 
as hopeless, when some sufficient practical proof shall be brought in 
j^id of the theories (for such they are), which suppose it impossible 
that women, in a state of slavery, should be kept in proper discipline 
by more gentle methods than those of the whip and the stocks." 

In commenting on §. C, which authorizes the attendance of slaves at 
all places of public worship, with certain restrictions as to hours and 
distances, his Lordship well observes, that though all religious teachers, 
not clergymen of the Established Church, must have a licence from 
the Secretary of State, or from the Governor ; yet that the latter can- 
not too distinctly remember that " for the conversion of persons who 
must unhappily be numbered amongst heathens, an ardent zeal for the 
diffusion of Christian knowledge is the first and all essential requisite ; 
and that very many exemplary clergymen may be deficient in those 
popular arts, by which in religion, as in other subjects, uncultivated 
minds are most powerfully affected." "Your duty, therefore," he 
adds, " will be to encourage as much as possible those religious 
teachers in whose good sense and sobriety of mind you can 
place the greatest confidence, and not to refuse your licence to any 
man of honest intentions and decorous conduct whom the slaves 
themselves may be disposed to receive as a teacher. I confidently 
anticipate your concurrence in the opinion, that much as the extension 
of that Church of which we are both members is to be desired, the 
propagation of Christian knowledge, under any form of church go- 
vernment, or with whatever infusion of error in subordinate questions, 
is incomparably to be preferred to that state of heathen darkness in 
•which the slaves in our Colonies have for so long a course of years 
been permitted to live." 

The last clause of the Order directs its promulgation within one 
month after it shall have been received; and, in fourteen days 
from that time it is to be in force in the Colony. " It has been 
deemed right," says his lordship, " that, on so important an occasion 
as the present, you should be released from all responsibility by being 
refused all discretion as to the time of promulgating this law. The 
rule has been laid down in terms thus pereniptory, not of course 
from any distrust of the Governors of His Majesty's Colonies, but 
from the conviction that if any choice had been left to them, as to the 
promulgation or suspension of this Order, they would have been as- 
sailed with solicitations to which it might have been most difficult, 
if not indeed impossible, for them to make an effectual resistance." 

■ We of course do not wish to be vinderstood as concurring abso- 

Conclusion. 53 

lutely with Lord Goderich in every argument and every expression he 
has employed. Neither his Lordship, nor our readers generally, can 
have so misapprehended the uniform tenor of our opinions, on the 
subjects which are treated with such eminent ability and moderation 
in the Despatch before us, or the principles which we consider as 
supremely worthy of recognition and adoption in the final adjustment 
of the great question at issue. — And if, in the examination of specific 
measures of reform, we do not always interrupt the course of our ob- 
servations by a reference to those grand and fundamental maxims of 
justice, and constitutional law, and Christian morality, which are para- 
mount to all other considerations, it is because, that with readers of 
intelligence who have accompanied us in our labours during the last 
eight years, it cannot be necessary, and would therefore be in bad 
taste, to be continually reminding them that we hold the slavery, ex- 
isting under British dominion, to be a source of guilt and of crime, 
a system of injustice and inhumanity, as well as inherent impolicy, 
which can only be effectually divested of evil by its utter extinction. 
There is, we admit, something painfully humiliating in being forced to 
argue the main question, or even its details, on any other than the; 
high ground of moral principle. With a very slight accommodation 
we might apply to this entire controversy the noble language employed 
by Lord Goderich in his admirable reply to the miserable sophistry of 
Mr. Irving, the member for Bramber. (See above, p. 45.) " I can 
never consent to oppose a temporary and apparent expediency to those 
eternal obligations which religion founds upon the law of God, and 
which morality derives from an expediency which is permanent and 
universal." — ^These are sentiments worthy of their author, and which 
we should be glad henceforward, in the prosecution of our labours, 
to adopt as the motto of the Anti-Slavery Reporter. 

The full and final settlement of the question must probably be 
reserved for the time when the now all-absorbing subject of reform 
shall no longer occupy the attention of Parliament. 

in. Jabiaica. — Recent Intelligence. 

It was our intention to have inserted the substance of some official 
statements respecting the legislation of Jamaica, contained in the same 
" Papers by Command," which have already supplied us with so many 
invaluable extracts, but our usual space has been so far exceeded that 
we must defer our purpose for the present ; and must content our- 
selves with laying before our readers a few detached articles of intelli- 
gence from that important island. 

1. One of the first fruits of the recent emancipation of the free 
blacks and coloured inhabitants of Jamaica, from the civil and poli- 
tical disabilities under which they had groaned so long, has been the 
return, on the occurrence of two vacancies in the House of Assembly, 
of two gentlemen of colour, namely, Mr. Price Watkis, a barrister, for 
the city of Kingston, and Mr. Manderson, for the popvilous and 
wealthy parish of St. James. The first vote given by Mr. Watkis was 
in support of an unsuccessful motion to adopt a compulsory manu- 

54 Jamaica ; Coloured Members of Assembly ; Question of Siavery. 

mission law for that island. He stood in a small minority, it is true ; 
but the battle of freedom has been commenced in the very strongest 
hold of slavery ; and its final triumph cannot be doubted. 

2. Another circumstance which leads to the same cheering antici- 
pation is, that on this occasion, the mover of the proposition, Mr. 
Beaumont, had hitherto been long known, chiefly as one of the 
fiercest, and most relentless opponents of every attempt to reform 
the vicious system of slavery prevailing in Jamaica. The es^ent alone 
can shew whether his conversion is partial or universal, and whether 
his new career is founded in principle, or in a timid and temporising 
policy. Mr. Beaumont is sufficiently acute to perceive that unless 
something be done to abate, in the eyes of the British public, the 
malignity of the system he has till now so vigorously defended, it 
must speedily be destroyed root and branch ; and if he should suc- 
ceed in exciting such a hope, he may, by the well-timed and not very 
costly sacrifice of one or two of the limbs obtain a respite for the whole 
trunk. On this ground, it may be that he has proposed his compulsory 
manumission bill, and signified his further intention of moving for the 
abolition of female flogging. He probably well knows that he will carry 
neither of these measures. Indeed, in the first, he has already been 
signally defeated by a majority of 30 to 2. He still, doubtless, hopes 
for some effect on the British mind, even from the proposal of it ; and 
to that effect he perhaps mainly looks as thei'eward of his abortive effort. 
We must infer thus much from his having chosen to state at length, in 
a paper which the last packet has conveyed to this country, and which 
has been largely circulated among those who are interested in the 
question, his reasons for this proceeding. Many of these reasons, we ad- 
mit, are conclusive. — They are borrowed from our pages — but they all 
seem to derive their force, as respects the Jamaicans, whom alone he 
professes to address, from the consideration that unless they will 
adopt his two measures, and thus soften the animosity of the aboli- 
tionists, it will be impossible to avert the interference of the mother 
country, and the consequent destruction of the whole slave system. 
We hail this as a good symptom of our progress, though not quite in 
Mr. Beaumont's sense, and we therefore congratulate our friends upon 
it. But let us not overrate its value, or be deluded by it into a fatal 
security and inaction. 

3. We have frequently alluded to the insolent tone adopted, by the 
handful of planters in Jamaica and other slave colonies, on the sub- 
ject of slavery. In the House of Assembly, in the month of November 
last, Mr. Lynch, one of the members of it, speaking of the intentions 
of Government with respect to slavery, as indicated by Lord Howick's 
speech in the House of Commons on the 15th April, 1831, said : 
■"Our watchword at present ought not to be ' conciliation,' but ' resis- 
tance.' " On these words the Jamaica Watchman, the organ of the 
free black and coloured classes, on the 9th Nov. thus comments : — 
" Mere sober-thinking men are inclined to transpose the expressions, 
and say, ' not resistance, but conciliation.' And in this opinion 
every man will join who has calmly and dispassionately considered the 
5ubject in connection with our subjection to the parent Government. 

Jamaica — Renunciation of Allegiance. 55 

When to resist is seriously recommended, the first and most natural 
inquiry is, ' Can we do so ; can we do so successfully? ' And when this 
inquiry is made, it must be evident that the idea of resisting the mo- 
ther country is one of those absurd, ridiculous, and childish recom- 
mendations which none but a fool or a madman could for a moment 
seriously entertain. ' But,' say some, ' we use such language, not 
with any intention of proceeding to extremities, but for the purpose of 
intimidating His Majesty's Government.' We reply, such means can 
never produce the expected result ; and to suppose that the clamour 
of the Jamaica legislature will have that effect, is just about as ridi- 
culous as the idea of resistance to the overwhelming power of Great 

" But it is not the power of Great Britain alone that renders this 
idea preposterous." . . " Our peculiar situation must be regarded as 
the best guarantee that can be offered for our dutiful submission. 
Will Mr. Lynch and the other members who talk about throwing off 
their allegiance, and seeking protection elsewhere, consider for one 
moment the situation in which they stand, and the absolute impossi- 
bility of succeeding in such an attempt. Have we not in the island 
British troops to a large number, officered by men Avhose valour and 
whose devotion to their sovereign are undoubted ? Are there not on 
this station and often in our ports those wooden walls that are a terror 
to our enemies ? In whose keeping are our forts and batteries ? And 
do not British troops occupy every stronghold on the island ? But 
this is not all. Are the free inhabitants unanimous in their opinion of 
resistance ? Mr. Lynch knows as well as we do that they are not. 
He is well aware that numbers of his own (white) class are decidedly 
opposed to such a wild scheme. He must know that the free coloured 
body generally will be found adding their number to the supporters of 
the British Crown in the island, and opposing themselves to all who 
Avould offer resistance to the Government, Nor is even this all : there 
is another class, whose physical superiority must render them fearful 
in the eyes of those who would take ' resistance ' for their ' watch- 
word.' And we ask Mr. Lynch how he would dispose of them, in the 
event of a rupture with Great Britain, knowing, as they will know, 
that a desire to ameliorate their condition is the only cause which 
has led to such a state ? Does he or does any man suppose that they 
will calmly sit down, indifferent spectators of a struggle, in which 
they, so much more than others, are immediately and deeply interested, 
and which is either to brighten their hopes of liberation from a de- 
f^rading and brutalising system, or to doom them to cheerless and inter- 
minable bondage ? Reason, common sense, and a knowledge of 
their character, say No ! and dangerous indeed will be the state of 
those who, in the face of such a mass of evidence as to the m.adness 
of resisting the recommendations of Government, would take ' resis- 
tance ' for their ' watchword.' 

" If then resistance, as we have shewn, cannot be offered with the 
slightest chance of success ; if circumstances conspire to favour the 
benevolent intentions of the parent Government with regard to our 
degraded and demoralised fellow-men and fellow-subjects, is it not 

56 Cape of Good Hope — Free Labour. 

wisdom, nay prudence to conciliate ? " . . "That slavery must shortly 
cease in the British colonies is a fact now too well known and too ge- 
nerally admitted to require being proved. As this is the case, and 
terms have been entered into by those most deeply interested in the 
speedy and final termination of slavery ; as religion and humanity 
demand, at the hands of the British public and the white colonists, that 
measure of long delayed justice to the suffering sons of Africa ; as 
the ties of blood claim, from our numerous freed population, strenuous 
exertions in behalf of their parent races ; and as the general safety 
and welfare depend on the content and quiet of those for whom we 
plead ; then is it to be hoped that nothing more will be heard about 
resistance, and that the legislature will show that better part of va- 
lour — discretion, and will recognise, in conciliation, their only safety 
from impending danger." 

One word more. — " Attempts have been made to shew an analogy 
between our differences with the mother country and those of the 
United States." " The real causes of the American revolution were 
taxation without representation." " What is the real nature of our 
controversy with Great Britain ?" She requires us to do away with a 
system founded on error, injustice, and oppression ; a system that 
brutalises the mind both of master and slave, and which degrades man 
to the level of the brute. It is this system which, ere it be too late, 
and while we yet have the power, the mother country calls upon us to 

IV. Cape of Good Hope. — Free Labour. 

In the South African Commercial Advertiser of the 9th of Feb. 
1831, we find the following gratifying intelligence : — 

A gentleman, (Mr. Chase) a friend of slavery, asks this question : — 
" Have the friends of immediate emancipation marked the conduct 
of the prize negroes in this colony who have suddenly acquired 
liberty V The answer to this question is promptly given as follows : 
" We speak advisedly : — three thousand Prize Negroes have re- 
ceived their Freedom, 400 in one day ; but not the least difficulty 
or disorder occurred : — servants found masters — masters hired ser- 
vants; all gained homes, and at night scarcely an idler was to be seen. 
In the last month, 150 were liberated under precisely similar circum- 
stances, and with the same result. These facts are within our own 
observation ; and to state that sudden and abrupt emancipation would 
create disorder and distress to those you mean to serve, is not reason; 
but the plea of any and all men who are adverse to emancipation." 

To this it is added that to these events the writer makes his appeal, 
and that they must be deemed satisfactory, until Mr. Chase " shall 
have produced facts to establish the charge against the Prize Negroes, 
so strongly implied in the above quotation. Mr. Chase is respect- 
fully challenged to produce such facts." 

No reply had appeared in any subsequent journal ; and as the con- 
troversy was proceeding actively, we conclude that none could be 

S. Bagster, Junr,, Printer, 14, Bartholomew Close, London- 


No. 93.] For FEBRUARY, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 2. 



I. — New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

In our last number, p. 53, we briefly adverted to some papers re- 
cently laid before Parliament, containing the latest edition of the 
Jamaica Slave Code, and therefore, the latest specimen of Jamaica 
justice, humanity, and civilization. It bears the date of Febru- 
ary 19, 1831, and furnishes therefore a very satisfactory test of the 
actual fitness of the planters, in that first and greatest of our Slave 
Colonies, for the task of legislating for their bondmen. The law, as a 
whole, we hesitate not to say in the outset, will be found to be a most 
barbarous enactment, far more worthy of Tunis or Algiers, than of a 
community calling itself British. Nevertheless, we hardly can regret 
that during the interval, (the brief interval we trust,) which may elapse 
before slavery itself shall be extinguished, or at least before the pledge 
given by his Majesty's Government, on the 15th of April, 1831, of the 
substitution of a new and better Code of their own shall have been 
fulfilled, that this Jamaica act should be " left to its operation ;" 
were it only, that the world may see what actually are the laws which, 
in 1831, a body of British Slave holders, after eight years of delibera- 
tion, should have produced, as the ne plus ultra of legislative wisdom, 
for the government and protection of their 330,000 slaves. 

In the former volumes of our work, we have treated largely of the 
Slave Laws of Jamaica, and have exposed the whole system of fraud 
and falsehood on which their pretended ameliorations have proceeded, 
as well as the gross misrepresentations by which the West India Com- 
mittee at home, and the Elite of forty-one West India Planters and 
Merchants, have endeavoured to hide, from the public view, their real 
enormity. For this exposure, we beg to refer to Vol. i. No. 21, 
p. 298—308 ; Vol. ii. No. 29, p. 102—111 ; No. 33, p. 177—182; 
No. 38, p. 261—269; No. 43, p. 341—345; Vol. iii. No. 60, p. 
193 — 206 ; and Vol. iv. No. 82 ; and we are entitled to assume the 
statements there made to be unanswerable, because after the lapse 
of so long a time, not a single attempt has been made to disprove any 
one of them ; — even any one of those direct and specific charges of 
imposition on the public which we have openly, and unreservedly, 
and repeatedly, preferred against the framers and vindicators of these 

Now, however, we have a new law of the Jamaica legislature laid 


5B New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

before us, a law bearing the date of 1831 , and which is accompanied 
by a renewed claim on the pan of that body on the public approbation 
for the enlightened humanity of its provisions. But after perusing it 
with the utmost attention, we can discover in it no ground of 
preference to the former disallowed enactments, with one single excep- 
tion, and that of a negative kind ; namely, that certain clauses, intro- 
duced into the former acts, legalizing religious persecution, have been 
omitted in this ; —omitted, however, not from choice — not from growing 
liberality of sentiment — not from any conviction of their radical ini- 
quity ; but from stern compulsion. The legislators of Jamaica have 
been forced, actually driven as with their own cart-whip, after an obsti- 
nate and protracted but vain struggle, to omit these outrageous 
clauses, though to part with them has seemed like rending their heart- 
strings. They clung to the fire and the faggot principle with the fero- 
cious zeal of inquisitors, and only let it go when to retain it had be- 
come utterly hopeless. 

But in leaving this Act to its operation for a time, (we renew the hope 
that it is but for a brief time,) it is plain that the Government are far 
from viewing it with a complacent eye. On the contrary, Lord 
Goderich indicates, in terms not to be mistaken, his deep dissatisfac- 
tion with its provisions. In his despatch of the 16th of June, 1831, 
he not only adopts and makes his own all the strong censures cast 
upon the slave legislation of Jamaica by former Secretaries of State, 
and especially by Mr. Huskisson,but adds some valuable supplemental 
animadversions, chiefly on the variations between the present law and 
the disallowed act of 1826, on which Mr. Huskisson had so ably com- 
mented. To these animadversions we shall now briefly advert. 

1. A slight change in the terms of the law about the marriage of 
slaves, (§ 4.) a law which seems purposely framed to prevent, rather 
than to encourage their entering into that state, calls forth, in addition 
to the remarks of Mr. Huskisson, (vol. iii. No. 60, p. 195.) a cautiori 
against using expressions calculated to "restrain the exercise of a 
right, which more than any other, must be considered as belonging 
alike to every class of human society, be their civil condition what it 
may." (Papers by command, of the 6th December, 1831, p. 55.) 

2. In the disallowed act of 1826, the legislature of Jamaica had 
introduced a clause (§ 12.) to oblige masters, under a penalty of 501. 
to afford good and ample provision to their slaves, and another clause 
(§ 14.) imposing a penalty of lOOZ. on masters neglecting to give in, 
yearly, an account of the clothing supplied to them. — These penalties, 
it was probably hoped , might prove a bait to induce Government to 
pass the persecuting clauses ; for in the Act of 1831, finding that these 
must be abandoned, they have taken care to reduce the penalties 
from 50 and 1001. respectively, to a sum not exceeding 201., thus 
making the penalty merely nominal ; and they have actually taken 
away all penalty in the case of persons failing to make the required 
I'eturns of the time allowed to the Slaves for cultivating their grounds. 

3. Proceeding, probably, on the same principle of bargain or barter, 
a clause had been introduced into the Act of 1826, (^ 12.) fixing the 

weekly allowance in money to be made to-the slave, in lieu of food, 

New Slave Code of Jamaica. 59 

at 3s. Ad. currency for each slave ; but in the Act of 1831, this pro- 
vision is wholly omitted. (Ibid, p. 55.) 

4. By turning to our third volume, No. 60, p. 201, and our fourth 
volume, No. 82, p. 309, our readers will see the nature of the de- 
ception practised by the legislators of Jamaica of that day, and 
upheld by the West India Committee, and a select body of forty-one 
planters and merchants, in their respective manifestoes, wherein they 
represent clause 16 of the Act of 1826, as ha,ving conveyed to the 
slaves " a right of property and of action." But in the Act of 1831, 
even the slight semblance of protection given to the slave's property 
by the former act is withdrawn. By that act a penalty of lOZ., over 
and above the value of the property of which a slave might be robbed, 
or unlawfully deprived, was imposed on the person robbing him. But 
in this, the penalty is limited to the precise value of the property so 
robbed, while it expressly takes from the slave, and vests exclusively 
in his owner, all right, whether in law or equity, to sue for the recovery 
of any such plundered property. (Act of 1831, § 14.) " This part of 
the law," LordG. justly observes, " is altered considerably to the slave's 
disadvantage, and when the owner himself is the wrong-doer the slave 
is left without any remedy." (Papers by command, &c. p. 5^.) 

Such is the Jamaica mode of conferring on the slaves, " a right of 
property and of action !" What say the West Indian Committee, and 
the West Indian Elite of forty-one to this view of the case ? Here 
indeed, we have what they call a law for giving to the slaves "a right 
of proijerty , and a right of action^'' every word of which seems 
deliberately contrived to withhold from the slave any such right ; at 
the very moment too that they are assuring the people and parliament 
of England that they have conveyed it to him. 

5. We have before exposed the evasive nature of that pretended 
amelioration, in former Jamaica Acts, by which, while executors were 
not " required," but merely " authorized" to pay bequests made to 
slaves, the slave legatee was expressly debarred from all action, or 
suit, at law or in equity, for the recovery of such bequest. Ashamed, 
it would seem, of this barefaced mockery, the Assembly, in the Act of 
1831, have added a proviso, which is farther illustrative of their grand 
principle of legislation, namely evasion. It is this, " Provided 
always that the owner of such slave may institute any such suit or 
suits as he may conceive necessary for such slave's benefit, giving se- 
curity for costs." (Act of 1831, § 15.) Lord Goderich, it is true, 
expresses something like satisfaction even at this slight modification of 
the former iniquitous law ; 

" But," he adds, " as the owner must sue in his own name, there can be 
no redress against himself, should he be the executor withholding the legacy." 
" The obUgation of giving a security for costs, will, I should fear, deter most 
owners from engaging in such a litigation, especially as the legacy must be reco- 
vered, if at all, in the Court of Chancery. Neither can I perceive the justice of 
subjecting slaves to an onerous condition of this nature, from which other suitors 
are exempt. A slave must usually be a pauper ; and, therefore, according to the 
usual habits of Courts of Justice, is rather entitled to peculiar indulgence than 
liahle to more than ordinary rigour." 

6. " I observe, with concern," his Lordship proceeds, " a change in the Ian* 

60 New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

guage of the seventeenth section, which, in 1826, exempted the mothers of six 
living children ' from all hard labour in the. field or otherwise.' They are now 
exempted merely from 'hard labour:' — an expression less humane, in propor- 
tion as it is less definite, than the former." 

If a practical illustration of the working of this apparently humane 
law be desired, it may be found in our Fourth Volume, No. 89, p. 468. 
But in truth, the law, which first appeared soon after the agitation 
of the slave question, in 1787, has stood a dead letter in the Jamaica 
statute book, being obviously designed to blind the eyes of the British 
public, but having no practical operation in Jamaica itself. To be 
convinced of this let Government call for the result of all this parade 
of legislation; let them call for the amount of public taxes remitted, 
since its first enactment, on account of these " mothers of six living 
children," andwe take upon us to predict that they will find it to be nil. 

7. His Lordship goes on to remark, " The 26th clause of the act of 1826, sub- 
jected persons compelling their slaves to work in the prohibited hours to a penalty 
of 50/. It is now provided that the penalty shall ?iot exceed 501. The minimum 
of punishment, in a case of very grave importance, is thus left indeterminate." 

8. Again, "The former statute declared that 'for the future all slaves in the 
island, should be allowed the usual number of holidays that were allowed at the 
usual seasons of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide.' It is now enacted that 
lliey shall be allowed the holidays of Christmas and Easter ; thus the three 
annual holidays are reduced to two, and the slave is deprived of the security 
formerly given to him, that he should enjoy 'the usual number' of such days." 

This again is probably done, as we have already ventured to sur- 
mise of other clauses, on the ground of indemnifying themselves for 
the cruel necessity of excluding from the Act the persecuting clauses 
against Methodists and Dissenters. 

9. The subjects of qualified approbation, to which the Secretary of 
State, with his usual candour, has adverted, seem to us to throw rather 
a lurid than a very cheering light on the whole subject of the slavery 
of Jamaica. One is, that a price is no longer put on the head of 
slaves in rebellion. Another is that Magistrates shall take cognizance of 
the fact of branding slaves. A third, that in one or two cases the 
maximu7n of penalty on the master, for ill treating his slave, is raised 
from 10/. to 101. ; and that, in a few other cases, the punishments to be 
inflicted by the Magistrate instead of being left indefinite are defined. 
Lastly, a workhouse keeper is prohibited from flogging slaves on a 
mere verbal order (it must now be a written order) of the owner ! — 
Such are nearly all the positive ameliorations of this vaunted law, the 
fruit of so much deliberation, and the occasion of so much angry 
controversy ! 

10. " I cannot pass the subject of the Workhouse," observes Lord 
Goderich, " without expressing my decided opinion that no Pro- 
prietor of Slaves should be permitted to impart an authority, in any 
form whatever, to public officers, to inflict punisliment in gaol, or by 
personal chastisement. The prisons of the island should be regarded 
as exclusively public property ; and the gaolers as officers intrusted 
with none but public duties." — But if this be the decided judgment of 
his Lordship, why is it that the acknowledged abuse is permitted to 
continue for a single day ? 

11. The former law of 1826 had restricted the use of chains, collarSj 

New Slave Code of Jamaica. Gl 

&c., to a light collar without hooks, which should only be put on by 
direction of a magistrate. The act of 1831 is more liberal, and permits 
the magistrate to connect the light collars, riveted round the necks of 
two or more slaves, with each other by a light chain, so that a whole 
gang may be thus chained together by the neck while at their work ; 
for such is the effect of a few new words insidiously introduced into 
clause 39. 

" Against this change," observes Lord Goderich, " it is my duty to make a dis- 
tinct protest. The use of chains for the punishment of slaves in such a manner 
as to confine two or more together, is a practice to be condemned, not only as 
tending to inflict unnecessary pain, but as subjecting the wearers of such in- 
struments to degradation. In all legislation on the subject of Slavery, it is 
impossible to bear too fully in mind the principle that the slaves should be taught 
to cherish self respect, in order that they may become more entitled to the respect 
of others, and better qualified to assume a higher station in the scale of society." 

12. Lord Goderich goes on to remark: — 

" The provisions which have been introduced respecting tickets to be given to 
slaves, who may be hired out for more than three months, invite and even require 
the remark, that if the slave should violate the law, at the bidding of his master, 
it is unjust that he should be punished by the magistrate ; because, by disobe- 
dience, he would incur a domestic punishment. 

13. "I must further object to the new clause which requires that security for 
costs shall be given before a writ ' de homine replegiando," can issue. I cannot 
understand why the Plaintiff, in an action for asserting his freedom, should be 
exposed to a difficulty with which no other suitor has to contend." 

Those who are acquainted with the course of the present contro- 
versy, will remember how much the Assembly of Jamaica took credit 
for extraordinary liberality, in affording, to an alleged slave, an op- 
portunity of proving his freedom by means of the process called 
Homine Replegiando. The path to freedom by this process was of 
itself sufficiently arduous ; but even of the slight facility which it 
afforded to persons unjustly held in slavery to vindicate their free- 
dom, the legislators of Jamaica seem to have become impatient. 
They have therefore introduced into the present Act the clause 
adverted to by Lord Goderich, and which applies an extinguisher 
on all future hope of vindicating freedom by means of this vaunted 

14. " I gladly acknowledge," says his Lordship, " the propriety of 
excluding the 88th clause, respecting slaves having in their possession 
articles used in the practice of Obeah." We cannot however our- 
selves derive much consolation from this slight modification of a 
most unjust and cruel enactment, while the laws on the subject of 
Obeah itself continue to deform the statute book of any British Co- 
lony, and to be sanctioned by the British Crown. 

We took occasion, in considering the disallowed Act of 1826, (Vol. 
ii. No. 38, p. 267,) to advert to the excessive severity of the clauses 
(84, 89, and 90,) which inflict a capital punishment on Obeah, that is, 
in other words, on pretences to supernatural powers and practices, par- 
taking of the nature of pretended conjuration and witchcraft. We 
then observed that, " of this description of offence both the belief 
and the effect are mainly to be ascribed to the undue severity of the 
laws enacted for its suppression. The negro must conceive that there 

62 Nev) Slave Code of Jamaica. 

is some awful reality in pretences and practices, which excite sueh 
unsparing' vengeance on the part of the legislature ; and the very evil 
therefore which neglect would reduce to insignificance, and above 
all, which Christian instruction would speedily eradicate, is thus 
actually fostered and increased by the misapplied severity with Vv-hich 
it is denounced and persecuted. Heathen superstition may thus have its 
martyrs, as well as Christianity itself." And again we added, (No. 43, 
p. 345,) " In the midst of much that is marked by the most enlightened 
views of policy, we were surprised to find a mind like that of Mr, 
Huskisson, conceding, for a single moment, the propriety of enact- 
ments against Obeah." 

Perhaps however we ought to blame ourselves, much more than Mr. 
Huskisson, for not having denounced, more frequently and more 
loudly, this too long tolerated, though extensively legalized outrage 
on every principle of justice, humanity, and even common sense. 
But before we proceed, let us see what it is, which in the year 1831, 
His Majesty in Council has sanctioned as law in Jamaica, as well as 
in other Colonies, by permitting Obeah to be treated as a capital 
crime, punishable with death. 

" §. 83. And in order to prevent the many mischiefs that may 
hereafter arise, from the wicked arts of negroes, going under the 
appellation of Obeah, or Myal men and women, ?in& pretending to 
have communication with the devil, and other evil spirits, whereby 
the weak and superstitious are deluded into a belief of their having 
full power to exempt them, whilst under their protection, from many 
evils that might otherwise happen : Be it further enacted, that from 
and after the commencement of this Act, any slave who shall pretend 
to any supernatural power in order to excite rebellion, or other evil 
purposes; or shall use, or pretend to use, any such practices, with 
intent, or so as to affect, or endanger, the life, or health, of any 
other slave," (not of any free man!) " or under any other pretence 
whatsoever, shall, upon conviction thereof, suffer death, or trans- 

any thing in this, or in any other Act, to the contrary notwith- 

" §. 85. And be it further enacted, that if any negro, or other slave 
or slaves, shall mix or prepare, with an intent to give, or cause to be 
given, any poison, or poisonous or noxious drug, pounded glass, or 
other deleterious matter, in the practice of Obeah or otherivise, 
although death may not ensue on the taking thereof; the said slave 
or slaves, together with their accessaries, as well before as after the 
fact, being slaves," (all this then is no crime in free persons!) " being 
duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death, or such punishment as 
THE court shall AWARD, any thing in this, or in any othe Act to 
the contrary, in any wise, notwithstanding." 

And let no man flatter himself that these atrocious enactments are, 
like those clauses in this Act which profess to give protection to the slave, 
almost a dead letter. Oh no! they are in living and almost unceasing 
and ferocious operation. And what are the many executions which, 
from time to time take place under them, but so many judicial mur- 

Neiu Slave Code of Jamaica. 63 

ders? What, we ask, can justify such laws and such proceedings, 
which would not equally justify the revival of our own ancient and 
bloody statutes against witchcraft ; or even the enactment of a new 
law which should condemn., to the gallows, all the pretenders to 
supernatural communications and powers, in our own day ? For their 
condign punishment, the very same plea might and would be urged 
by many, that "^ the weak and superstitious are deluded by them." 

It is not a little remarkable, that in the Island of Antigua, where 
no law has ever existed against Obeah, no complaint has ever been 
made of the existence or danger of the practice. It is no less remarkable 
that in Africa itself, the native country of the Obeah superstition; even 
at Sierra Leone, filled with native Africans, imbued with a belief in 
that superstition, no measures of penal repression have been ever 
called for, or even dreamed of for a moment, as necessary ; and that 
the exclusive remedy which any one there has thought of applying 
to the evil, and under the operation of which indeed it has been ra- 
pidly disappearing from day to day, has been the diff'^sion of Christian 
light among the subjects of it. 

15. The only other remark made by Lord Goderich, refers to some 
unimportant variation in the still inadequate and defective law of 
Slave evidence, and the reason he gives for his having limited his anim- 
adversions to the clauses noticed above, he distinctly states to be, 
that he had been anticipated, in the greater part of those he should 
otherwise have had to make, by Mr. Huskisson's despatches of the 
22nd September 1827, and 22nd March 1828, and which he distinctly 
refers to, as containing " a full exposition of the views of His 
Majesty's Government, respecting the present state of the laws of 
Jamaica on the subject of Slavery." His own remarks are thus 
therefore almost entirely confined to the few points in which the Act 
of 1831 varies, either for good or evil, from that of 1826. He thus 
concludes his despatch: — 

" I have now adverted to every material topic which this statute has brought, 
for the first time, under the notice of His Majesty's Government. It is not with- 
out very sincere reluctance that I observe, that the value of the advantages gained 
by the rejection of the clauses respecting religious worship, is, in no small degree, 
impaired by some of the alterations to whicli I have adverted. The advance 
made since the year 1826, cannot, I fear, be truly stated as considerable, while, 
as I have already shewn, the law passed in thai year has, in the act of February- 
last, undergone changes which, in many important respects, diminish its value and 
impair its efficacy. Still, upon the whole, I am happy to acknowledge, that by 
passing this act into a law, the colonial slave code will be improved. It is for 
that reason, and not as regarding this statute as a satisfactory comphance with the 
repeated injunctions of His Majesty's Government, that the Ministers of the 
Crown have humbly advised His Majesty that it be left to its operation." 

If it be true, and to a certain, though we must say a very limited 
degree indeed, it is true, that the Jamaica Slave law of 1831 is an 
improvement on the slave law which it has superseded, namely that 
of 1816, (all the intermediate acts having been disallowed on account 
of their persecuting clauses, and never therefore having come into 
operation) then the act will only shew, when the law comes to be 
viewed as a whole, what it is which, under the most favourable cir- 

64 New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

eumstances, we have to expect, when, forgetful of our own highest 
obligations, we delegate to any body of slave holders, however respect- 
able, the task of framing laws for the government and protection of 
their wretched bondmen ! 

In this view we deem it our duty to exhibit an analysis of the entire 
Act, bearing date the 19th of February 1831, as it now stands, and 
is left, by the King in Council, to its operation over 330,000 of his 
Majesty's subjects. 

§ 1 and 2. It is declared expedient to revise and consolidate the 
laws now in force ; and to enact other provisions to promote the i-e- 
ligious and moral instruction, and to increase the general comfort and 
happiness of the slaves " as far as is consistent with due order and 
subordination, and the well-being of the Colony." All previous acts 
on the subject, therefore, are repealed. 

§ 3. Renews, totidem verbis, a clause which has stood in aim st 
every slave act since 1696, commanding owners and managers to 
teach Christianity to their slaves ; a clause, however, which, being 
without sanction or penalty, and without any means prescribed for 
effecting its professed object, has hitherto been a dead letter, and 
wholly without the slightest practical operation whatever. 

§ 4. Professes to encourage, while in fact it impedes, the marriages 
of slaves. (See Vol. iii. No. 60, p. 195.) 

§ 5. Slaves taken under execution are to be sold singly. In the case 

of families, however, when levied together, they shall he sold together; 

^but it is distinctly provided that in the levy families may be separated. 

No provision is made against the separation of families, by sale, 
in any other case than that of slaves taken in execution. 

§ 6. Sunday markets are actually legalized, for the first time, by 
this law, at least, until eleven o'clock. It is only after eleven o'clock 
that they are required to cease. 

§ 7. "To render the Sabbath as much as possible a day of rest, 
and of religious worship,*" slaves are not to be levied upon for their 
master's debts on Saturdays, any more than on Sundays. 

§ 8. Slaves are to be allowed, exclusive of Sundays and certain 
holidays, a day in each fortnight, out of crop time, so as to make 26 
week days in the year, besides Sundays, to cultivate their provision 
grounds. The penalty for failing to do so is only £20, which is not 
equal to more than two or three days' labour of a large gang. 

§ 9. Slaves are debarred from being employed for hire on Sunday, 
by any but their owner, without the consent of such ovvner in writing, 
under a penalty of £5. 

This seems a harsh, and uncalled for restriction. 

§ 10. During crop slaves are to be exempt from plantation labour 
on Sundays; and mills are. not to be put about between 7 on Saturday 
evening, and 5 on Monday morning, under a penalty of £20. 

* The hypocrisy of this preamble is manifest. How can it be said that all that 
is possible has been done to make Sunday a day of rest and worship, while no 
other day is given to the slave, and while he vmst still employ the Sunday in 
marketing', and in cultivating his grounds ? 

New Slave Code of Jamaica. &5 

Nothing is said of exemption from labour on Sundays, out of crop. 
In fact Sunday is appropriated by the slaves, both in and out of crop, 
to cultivate their provision grounds, which is virtually labouring for 
their masters, and in going to market. 

§ 1 1. The negro grounds are to be inspected monthly by managers, 
under a penalty of £10. If there are no grounds proper for culti- 
vating provisions, or the grounds are unproductive from dry weather 
or other causes, then the owner is to make " other good and ample 
provision of food for his slaves," under a penalty of not more 
than £20. 

How vague and worthless an enactment in a case so vital ! 

§ 12. Masters are to give to each slave, proper and sufficient 
clothing, to be approved of by the Justices and Vestry of the Parish, 
under a penalty of 51. for each slave not so provided. 

§ 13. Once every year Managers shall, under a penalty of not more 
than 20^. give in, at the Vestry, an account, on oath, of the nature 
and quantity of clothing actually served to each slave ; and shall de- 
clare, also on oath, that he has inspected the negro grounds, and that 
every negro has been allowed twenty-six week days for the cultivation 
of them during the preceding year, and is sufficiently provided with 
grounds ; and, where there are not grounds, with other ample pro- 

How vague still ! The accounts, too, are to be approved by the Jus- 
tices and Vestry, each of whom has his own account to render. 

§ 14. Pretends to give to slaves a right of personal property, but 
as we have shown above, (p. 59.) does not give even a shadow of it. 

§ 15. On this clause, respecting bequests to slaves, Ave have 
already commented above (p. 59.) 

§ 16. For this clause, respecting '■' mothers of six living children," 
see also above, (p. GO.) 

§ 17. . Prohibits owners, &c., from turning away their aged or in- 
firm slaves, or permitting them to stray from the plantation, on ac- 
count of infirmity or disease, but directs owners to provide them with 
'^ sufficient clothing and wholesome necessaries of life," under a pe- 
nalty of 20Z. It further directs, that such slaves when found wandering, 
shall be lodged in the Workhouse, and maintained there at the 
owner's expense. 

§ 18. This clause professes to make provision for " the many un- 
happy objects," who have been " manumized," but are become " a 
burthen or nuisance" to the country. 

We have here a kind of legislative argument against maBumission. 
And yet, when in 1826 returns on this subject were called for, and 
laid before Parliament, (see No. 353, of 1826,) it appeared that while, 
in Jamaica, where the white population amounted to only about 
15,000, the paupers of that class were about 300 ; the paupers of the 
black and coloured classes, being the " manumized," whose popula- 
tion amounted to upwards of 40,000, were only about 150, being in 
the proportion, according to their respective numbers, of only one 
" manumized," to six "white" paupers; but, in the amount of relief, 
only about one to twelve. Of the "manumized" paupers, too, almost 


66 New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

all, it would appear, had been the concubines, or illegitimate children 
of deceased pauper and destitute "whites." Vol. i. No. 19, p. 275o 

§ 19. Owners manumizing old and infirm slaves, are to allow each 
slave so manumized \0l. per annum for life, under a penalty of lOOZ. 

§ 20, 21. Aged or disabled slaves, belonging to persons insolvent, 
are to be removed to the owner's parish, and there provided for. 

§ 22. Field Slaves are allowed half an hour for breakfast, and 
two hours for dinner; and are not to be compelled to field luork, be- 
fore 5 in the mornings or after 7 at night, except during crop : under 
a penalty of not more than 507. 

This clause thus gives to the master a legal right to eleven hours 
and a half of field work in the twenty-four,, all the year round, be- 
sides an indefinite addition to this monsti'ous exaction, during crop, 
which lasts for four or five months in the year ; and a variety of other 
exactions of a very onerous kind, for which we must refer to our 
Vol. iii. No. 60, p, 204; and Vol. iv. No. 82, p. 296. 

§ 23. Slaves are allowed Holidays at Christmas and Easter, but 
no other, under a penalty of 51. 

They are now for the first time, deprived of holidays at Whit 
Sunday also, which by law they had hitherto had. The number of 
holidays to be given them, is not specified in the Act. It may 
therefore be only one ; and it is not, in any case, to be more than three. 
Easter being a Sunday, is obviously no boon, without at least one 
additional day. (See above,, p. 60.) 

§ 24. Slaves detecting runaways, or informing so as to convict 
persons of concealing or harbouring runaways, are to be rewarded 
with from twenty to forty shillings, as any justice shall determine. 

§ 25. If any person hereafter shall, with malice aforethought, 
kill or murder any negro or other slave, such person, so offending, 
shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of" felony without benefit of 
clergy, and shall suffer death accordingly, for the said offence." 

§ 26, 27. The rape of a female slave under ten, as well as of any 
female slave, is made a capital felony. 

§ 28. No conviction of felony under this act, shall extend to the 
corrupting of blood, or forfeiture of lands, or chattels of the felon. 

§ 29. Any person, who shall by himself, or by his direction, or 
consent, or will, or privity, " mutilate or dismember, or wantonly or 
cruelly whip, maltreat, beat, bruise, wound, or imprison, or keep in 
confinement without sufficient support, or brand any slave," (branding 
being now first made an offence) " shall be liable to be indicted for 
such offence," and " on conviction shall be punished by fine not ex- 
ceeding £100, or imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or both, 
for each slave so treated as aforesaid ; such punishment to be without 
prejudice to any action for damages, where the injured slave is not 
the property of the offender ; and where he is, and the case is atro- 
cious, the Court convicting, may declare the injured slave free 
from all servitude whatsoever, and may direct the fine exacted from 
the convict, to be given to the Justices and Vestry of the parish, who 
shall pay, to the slave so made free, ten pounds a year for life." 

5i 30 — 32. These three clauses refer to constitutinsr the Justices 

New Slave Code of Jamaica, 67 

and Vestry of each parish, a Council of Protection, to inquire into 
the complaints of the maltreatment of slaves, and giving them power 
to prosecute all persons guilty of such maltreatment. 

The total inefficacy of this boasted contrivance for the protection of, 
the slaves, by appointing to protect them the very men against whom 
they need to be protected, is now matter of history, as it was always 
matter of reasonable anticipation and presumption. To find abun- 
dant evidence of the most authentic kind to this fact, it is only ne- 
cessary to turn to th€ index of our four volumes, under the heads of 
Protectors, and Councils of Protection. The institution of such Coun- 
cils has proved not only useless, but actually injurious to its pro- 
fessed object. 

§ 33. By this clause, " in order to restrain arbitrary punishment,'' 
for such is its professed intent, the power is actually given to every 
driver, or quasi driver of inflicting ten lashes, and to every owner, or 
quasi owner or manager, of inflicting, on every slave, man, woman, 
or child in the island, arbitrary punishment, to the extent of thirty- 
nine lashes of the cart-whip at one time, under a penalty, if that 
number be exceeded, or too soon repeated, of not less than £10, or 
more than £20. 

An attempt to pourtray the whole enormity of this merciless enact- 
ment, this mockery of a restraint on arbitrary punishment, may be 
found in our fourth Vol. No. 82, p. 500, and in various other parts 
of the Reporter. 

§ 34. This clause, under a penalty of £5, limits the monstrous 
power which had hitherto been possessed by owners, of arbitrarily 
sending their slaves to gaol for an indefinite period, to a committal of 
them for ten days, unless a justice's warrant extends the term ; — and 
on those in gaol, limits the formerly unlimited power of arbitrarily 
inflicting corporal punishment, to not more than twenty lashes, un- 
less a justice's warrant enlarges the number. It moreover subjects the 
repetition of such punishment for the same offence to a fine of not 
more than £20 ; the workhouse-keeper being also liable to a penalty 
of not more than £10 if he shall be a party to any such unlawful in- 
fliction. (See above, p. 60.) 

§, 35. No workhouse-keeper shall receive any slave for punishment, 
or punish such slave without a ivritten order from the owner or 
manager, under a penalty of not more than £10. 

If he has however this written order, he may punish the slave, 
without even the assignment of an offence, at the mere bidding of the 
owner or manager, whoever he may be. (See above, p. 60.) 

§.36. Workhouse-keepers may not employ for their own profit 
either slaves committed to them for punishment, without leave of the 
Governors of the workhouse ; or slaves committed for security or pro- 
tection; under a penalty of £10. 

§. 37. Any justice receiving from any slave probable intelligence of 
any other slave having been improperly punished, may inquire, and if he 
find cause, may proceed against the offender ; but if the intelligence 
should prove groundless, then the justice may punish his informant 
v/ith 39 lashes, or hard labour in the workhouse for a month. 

G8 Neiu Slave Code of Jamaica. 

What slave would give information on such terms ? 

§. 38. No person shall punish a slave by fixing a collar on his neck, 
or loading- his body or limbs with chains or weights, other than a light 
collar without hooks, for one slave ; and " light collars and chains 
where there are more slaves than one ; " but this can only be 
done by order of a magistrate, under a penalty of not less than £5, 
or more than £50. And magistrates are required, under a penalty of 
£100, to remove, on information or view, all chains or collars that 
have not been put on by a magistrate's order. 

This is a much harsher clause than the corresponding one in the 
former act, (See above, p. 61.) 

§. 39. No slave is to travel except to and from market, nor to be 
found off his m.aster's plantation without a written permit, in which 
are to be specified the particulars of the case, under a penalty of not 
more than 40s. on the master, if the fault be the master's; or corporal 
punishment to the slave, if the faidt be the slave's. 

What a system of restraint have we here ! ! 

§ 40. Prohibits, without certain onerous formalities, the hiring out 
of slaves for a shorter period than three months., on pain of whipping 
to the slave, and a fine of £5 on the master permitting it. 

The drift of such an enactment is not very obvious. 

§ 41. All slaves shall be deemed runaways, who are absent Avithout 
leave for Jive days ; or who shall be found eight miles from the mas- 
ter's domicile, except when going to, or coming from market. 

§ 42. Slaves convicted of being runaways for more than six months, 
shall be transported for life, or punished with confinement to hard 
labour, for periods according to the magnitude of the offence. 

§ 43. Slaves running away for less than six months, may be 
punished by flogging not exceeding 39 lashes, or by confinement to 
hard labour for not less than three months ; but if they shall have 
frequently run away, and be declared by their owner or manager to 
be " incorrigible runaways," they may, on conviction, be confined to 
hard labour, or transported for life, as the court shall direct. 

§§ 44, 45. Slaves harbouring, or aiding runaways, shall on con- 
viction receive such punishment, not extending to life, as the court 
may direct ; and free persons guilty of this crime, shall be fined not 
more than £50, or imprisoned not more than three months, and shall 
pay besides 35, Ad. a day for every day such slave shall have been 

§ 46. Justices may issue warrants to search for runaways, or for 
persons suspected of harbouring runaways, and in the search, may 
break open all doors of negro hovises. 

§ 47. FVee persons giving false pei'mits or tickets of absence to 
slaves may, on conviction, be punished by fine or imprisonment, or 
both, or such other punishment, as the court in its discretion may 
direct, not extending to life. 

§. 48. Any person, except maroons, apprehending a runaway, shall 
receive from the owner, IO5. and mile money at fixed rates. Maroons, 
instead of 10s. shall receive 40s. for each runaway they shall appre- 
hend. Runaways, when apprehended, are either to be conveyed to 

New Slave Code of Jamaica. 69 

their owners, or lodged in the nearest workhouse ; the owner, or 
workhouse-keeper, paying to the party bringing- him the reward and 
the mile money. Those lodged in workhouses shall be advertised by 
the keepers of them in the different newspapers, with particular de- 
scriptions ; for which advertisements the owners shall pay, together 
with certain rates per day for the expense of such slave's maintenance 
and medical attendance, and all other necessary expenses. 

§ 51. The keepers of workhouses and gaols, under a penalty of 
£10 for every neglect, shall give, daily, to each slave, a provision of 
wholesome food, not less than one quart of unground Guinea, or In- 
dian corn, or three pints of the meal of either, or three pints of wheat 
flour, or eight full grown plantains, or eight pounds of cocoas or yams, 
and one herring or shad, or other salted provisions equal thereto ; and 
also good and sufficient clothing, where necessary. 

This is more than twice the Demerara and Leeward Island allow- 
ance to field slaves. (See Vol. iv. No. 82, p. 294.) 

§ 52, 53. If any slave sent in as a runaway alleges himself to be 
free, it shall be the duty of the senior justice of the parish, to convene 
a special sessions of not less than three justices, to examine the truth 
of such allegation, due notices being first given ; and if the person 
detained as a runaway is found to be free, he shall forthwith be dis- 
charged, or if not, he shall be remanded to the workhouse ; the de- 
cision of the special sessions being however, without prejudice to the 
right either of the person claiming to be free, or of any person claim- 
ing a right to him as a slave ; and no person, so detained as a run- 
away and claiming to be free, shall be sold, until such special session 
shall have met, and certified their decision. 

§. 54, 55. Impose penalties on persons fraudulently purchasing 
slaves sold out of workhouses, and on workhouse-keepers conniving 
at such practices. 

§. 5Q, 57. Regulate the proceedings to be had in cases of homine 
replegiando. (See -above, p. 61.) 

§. 58 — 60. Any slave running away and going off, or conspiring to 
go off the island, in any boat or vessel whatever, or aiding or abetting 
slaves to do so, shall suffer such punishment as the court shall think 
proper, not extending to life ; and any free person convicted of aiding 
in any such going off, shall forfeit £300 for each slave so aided, and 
shall be imprisoned for not more than 12 months; half the fine to 
go to the king, and half to the informer ; and the persons aiding or 
abetting may be prosecuted, whether the principals are convicted or 

§. 61. No slave shall travel the public roads, " with dogs, or cut- 
lasses, or other offensive weapons ; " without a ticket from his owner, 
or hunt any cattle, horses, &c., with lances, guns, &c., unless in 
company with his master, or some free person deputed by him, or 
by permission in writing, on pain of suffering such punishment as 
three justices may inflict, not exceeding 39 lashes, or three months* 
hard labour in the workhouse. 

§. 62, 63. If any owner or other free person shall suffer any slaves 
to assemble on any plantation to beat drums or blow horns, and shall 

70 Neui Slave C9de of Jamaica. 

not endeavour to prevent and disperse the same, applying to a magis- 
trate for aid if necessary, may be indicted, and if convicted, fined 
£50 ; and all officers, civil and military, are required to disperse all 
such unlawful assemblies, and prevent all such unlawful drummings 
and other noises ; — provided that this shall not prevent oy/ners or 
managers from permitting their slaves to assemble on their plantations 
for any innocent amusement, so as that they do not use military 
drums, horns, or shells, and that they put an end to the amusements, 
by 12 o'clock at night. 

§. 64. To prevent riots, and injury to health, all negro burials shall 
take place in the day time, so as to end before sunset, under a 
penalty on the master or manager permitting it of £50. And if a 
burial takes place after sunset in other places than plantations, the 
person on whose premises it occurs shall be fined from £5 to £50, and 
the slaves attending it, shall be punished, on conviction before three 
justices, with not more than 39 lashes. 

The health of the slaves which becomes the subject of lively appre- 
hension when a funeral, or attendance on Christian worship in an 
evening, is in question, is thought little of by the planters when the 
night work of crop, or the continuous labour of 16 or 18 hours in a 
day, is required of them. 

§. 65, 66. Any free person suffering an unlawful assembly of slaves 
on his premises, shall be fined not more than £100, or imprisoned not 
more than six months. Free persons suffering slaves to game in their 
houses, or gaming with them, may be committed by three justices, to 
the common gaol for six days, and slaves doing the same may be pun- 
ished by 39 lashes. What a disproportionate punishment ! 

§. 67 — 75. These clauses treat of manumission, and they afford 
certain legal facilities in cases of manumission by bequest, or where 
the owners are willing to manumit, but are prevented by mortgages or 
other incumbrances from accomplishing their object ; — iDut they afford 
no means whatever of effecting the manumission of a slave, under 
any circumstances, without the consent of the master. 

§. 76 — 79. Order persons travelling about to traffic in the purchase 
and sale of slaves, to be committed, and the slaves so trafficked in to 
be sold and the proceeds given, one half to the informer, and the 
other half to the poor of the parish ; and any sale of slaves made by 
such itinerant traffickers in slaves are declared void, and the slaves are 
to be resold and their proceeds applied as before directed. 

We are at a loss to conceive the ground of this enactment, except 
it be the jealousy felt by the great slave traffickers, who compose the 
assembly, of the petty chapmen in the same commodity who would 
interfere with them. 

§. 79. " No writ of certiorari or other process, shall issue, or be 
issuable, to remove any proceedings v/hatsoever, had in pursuance of 
this act, into the supreme Court of Judicature, or into any other of 
the courts of this island." 

It is difficult at first sight to conceive the object of this enactment; 
and care is taken to throw no light upon it by any preamble or ex- 
planation whatever. It stands too quite alone, isolated from all other- 

Neio Slave Code of Jamaica. 7! 

poiiits of legislation. The only end we can suppose it to be intended 
to answer is to keep all matters connected with the administration of 
the slave laws in the hands of the justices, and of the slave courts — 
generally consisting of planters — and thus preventing the trial and dis- 
cussion of such cases before an enlightened court, a liberal bar, and 
town juries, as less likely to be imbued with the inveteracy of colo- 
nial prejudice. At least, we can imagine no other rational motive for 
it. Indeed we are the more inclined to this opinion from recollecting 
that, in the case of the Rev. Mr. Bridges and Kitty Hilton, an at- 
tempt was made, by a reference to this very enactment, to prevent 
the cause being brought before the grand courts sitting at Spanish- 
town, under the presidency of the late Sir William Scarlett. The 
question itself was not, however, discussed in court, as the grand jury 
threw out the bill of indictment preferred against Mr. Bridges. The 
reader will find some light thrown on the subject in our third volume, 
No. 66, p. 381. 

§. 80 — 135. These fifty-six clauses may be considered as the penal, 
criminal, slave law of Jamaica. This is wholly independent of all 
the restraints and privations, and separations ; of all the exactions of 
labour and abridgements of natural repose ; of all the inflictions of 
arbitrary punishment, by the owner or his delegate, with their cart- 
whip, and their stocks ; of all the details of plantation discipline; and of 
all the nameless indignities, attendant on the ever present and ever 
wakeful domestic despotism to which they are subject. Of all this, 
we say, it is wholly independent ; it is a criminal code for slaves in 
addition thereto, which is peculiarly their own ; and it is written, as 
we shall see, in characters of blood. 

Death, transportation, or such other punishment as the court may 
direct, is, by this code, awarded to all slaves guilty of rebellion, or 
rebellious conspiracy ; oi murder ; felony ; burglary; robbery ; firhig 
negro or other houses, cane-pieces, grass-pieces, ox: corn-pieces ; break- 
ing into such houses in the day time and stealing thereout, no person 
being therein; ox committing any other crime which would subject 
free persons to be indicted for felony (§. 80.) ; — all slaves, 
moreover, " assaulting or offering any violence, by strking or other- 
wise to or towards any free person^' provided it be not by com- 
mand, or in defence of his owner (§. 81); all slaves pretending or 
practising Obeah, (see above, p. 62, §. 83 and 85) ; all slaves 
" found at any meeting formed for administering unlawful oaths, by 
drinking human blood mixed with rum, grave dirt, or otherivise, or for 
learning the use of arms for any unlawful purpose, (§. 86,) in which 
punishment freemen, aiding or assisting at such meetings, are joined 
(§. 87); all slaves stealing or killing any cattle, sheep, goat, hog,, 
horse, mule or ass, or stealing any part of the flesh thereof (§. 89) ; 
and all slaves wantonly cutting, chopping, maiming and injuring any 
such animals, if they die within ten days of the offence, or any 
other slave, so as to kill or dismember or make him a cripple 
(§. 92, 93.) 

Besides th-ese crimes, which are all made capital, the law subject^' 

72 New Slave Code of Jamaica. 

all slaves found canning fire or other arms without the knowledge and 
consent of the owner, to transportation, or such other punishment as 
the' Court may direct (§. 82) ; all slaves attending nightly meetings 
unknown to owners, &c., or not informing a magistrate of any un- 
lawful meetings, to hard labour for such ti^j^e, or to whipping to such 
extent as the Court may direct (§. 84 and 88) ; all slaves having any 
fresh beef, mutton, &c., in his possession, unknown to his owner, if 
under 20 pounds, to 39 lashes, if above 20 pounds, to such punish- 
ment not extending to life, or to transportation or imprisonment for 
life as the Court may direct (§. 90) ; and all slaves having in their 
possession unknown to their owner, not exceeding 5 pounds of sugar, 
or coffee, or pimento, or one gallon of rum, to 39 lashes, or more 
than 20 pounds of sugar, &c., or 5 gallons of rum, to such punish- 
ment not extending to life, or to transportation or imprisonment for 
life as the Court shall think proper. And when slaves are found 
guilty of any of these crimes, and sentence either of death or 
transportation is passed upon them, such sentence shall not be carried 
into effect but by warrant of the Governor after the whole of the evi- 
dence and proceedings have been submitted to him, " except when 
sentence of death shall be passed on any slave or slaves convicted 
of rebellion or rebellious conspiracy, in which case the Court shall 
and may proceed to carry the sentence into execution as heretofore," 
that is, without any reference to the Governor (§. 95.) 

The exception here made is the very case above all others which 
requires the review and interference of the Governor. It is the very 
case in which the passions of the judges and jury are likely to be the 
most excited, and all the substantial ends of justice to be overlooked 
and frustrated. A striking proof of this was given in the House of 
Commons on the 2nd of March, 1826, when the present Attorney- 
General, then Mr. Denman, brought before the view of Parliament, 
the many judicial murders which had been perpetrated in Jamaica, in 
1 824, on slaves charged with rebellion and rebellious conspiracy, and 
whose only crime really was that such convictions and executions were 
called for in order to impress on the public mind in England the be- 
lief that insurrections would infallibly attend the agitation of the 
question of slavery in the British Parliament. On this occasion, even 
the members of the Goverment, with Mr. Canning at their head, and 
who had entered the house intending to oppose Mr. Denman's motion 
for condemning these proceedings, found themselves compelled to de- 
part from their purpose, and to concur in reprobating them. The 
House unanimously resolved that "it sees in the proceedings which 
have been brought under its consideration, with respect to the late 
trials of slaves in Jamaica, further proof of the evils inseparably at- 
tendant on a state of slavery, and derives therefrom increased convic- 
tion of the propriety of the resolutions passed by this House on 
the 15th of May, 1823." v 

And now, after all this, we have the same Jamaica planters, who 
formed the tribunals thus reprobated in 1826, claiming a right summa-. 
rily to inflict death on the king's subjects, without even a reference of their 

Neiv Slave Code of Jamaica. ^3 

Judgment to the king's representative in the island, and this claim ad- 
mitted by the allovjance of the present act. 

The proceedings in ParHament on this occasion, may be seen in our 
First Volume, No. 10, p. 113 — 126; and the facts on which those pro- 
ceedings were founded in a pamphlet, entitled " The Slave Colonies of 
Great Britain, or a picture of Negro Slavery drawn by the Colonists 
themselves," published by Hatchard, p. 35 — 63. 

But to proceed with our analysis of the Slave law of 1831. — One 
clause (§ 97) directs that slaves who have stood committed to gaol for 
six months without being indicted shall be discharged by proclama- 
tion ; and another (§ 100) that the Magistrates and Vestry of every 
parish, may (not shall) employ a Barrister or Attorney, to defend slaves 
tried for capital ofFences^at such remuneration as they shall see fit 
By another clause (§ 103) Records are to be kept only of the judicial 
proceedings against Slaves condemned to death, transportation or hard 
labour. In no other case is any Record required. 

Slaves who are sentenced to death, or to transportation, or to impri- 
sonment to hard labour for life, are to be valued by the Jury, and the 
value, not exceeding £50, in the case of runaways, or £100 in the case 
of other convicts shall be paid to the owner (109 and ill.) — This 
most iniquitous principle has been strongly protested against by each 
succeeding Secretary of State ; but it still continues, under the Royal 
sanction, to disgrace the Slave Code not only of Jamaica but of almost 
every chartered slave colony belonging to the Crown. 

Slaves returning from transportation, or escaping from confinement, 
are to undergo their sentence ; or if the crimes for which they are 
transported would lawfully have subjected them to death, they shall 
suffer death without benefit of clergy, and the person apprehending such 
shall receive a reward of £25, (§ 112— 114, and 123.) The Governor 
may commute sentences of transportation or imprisonment and hard 
labour for life or a term of years for a shorter term (§ 122.) Gaolers, 
&c. suffering slaves to escape from neglect, or compelling slaves com- 
mitted to their custody to labour, are to forfeit £50. (§ 125.) 

Slaves accused of inferior crimes and misdemeanours (not provided 
for above) including swearing, obscene language, drunkenness and in- 
decent and noisy behaviour, shall be tried in a summary way by two or 
more justices, who may punish to the extent of thirty-nine lashes, or 
three months' hard labour, (§ 128.) 

This is indeed a summary and sweeping enactment. 

§ 130 — 135. These clauses contain the new law on the subject of 
slave evidence ; but we need not now enter upon its details, having 
already fully considered them. We refer our readers to Vol. ii. No. 33, 
p. 179 ; and No. 38, p. 266 ; and Vol. iv. No. 82, p. 305. 

The remaining clauses (§ 136 — 139.) respect merely technical mat- 
ters and need not detain us with any observations. 

Before we proceed to close this article, there is one circumstance to 
which we think it incumbent upon us again to call the special attention 
of our readers. We have already informed them that from the present 
Act, that of 1831, the persecuting clauses against the Methodists and 
other Sectaries, and against slaves instructing their fellows, or contri- 


74 Neiv Slave Code of Jamaica 

buting tlieir money for religious objects, have been excluded. These 
clauses had stood in the former disallowed Act of 1826, and in the 
other disallowed Acts which succeeded it. In that of 1826, those 
clauses are numbered 85, 86, and 87; and they are singularly placed 
between two clauses, 84 and 89, one of which condemned to death the 
professors, and the other the practisers of the Obeah superstition. The 
clause 84, in the Act of 1826, is the same with that numbered 83 in the 
Act of 1831 ; and the clause 89 of 1826, is the same with that num- 
bered 85, in the present Act. Transcripts of these clauses will be 
found above, p. 62. 

Now it is exactly between these two clauses that in the Act of 1826,. 
the Jamaica legislature had contrived to thrust the three persecuting 
clauses which they so fondly cherished, and to which they have so 
tenaciously clung. The first of them (§. 85,) denounces the practice 
of slaves attempting to teach or instruct other slaves, as of " pernicious 
consequence,'' and as even producing risk to life; and punishes the 
offence by whipping and imprisonment to hard labour in the workhouse. 
The second (§. 86,) denounces all religious meetings of dissenters as 
dangerous to the public peace, and injurious to the health of the slaves, 
if held after dusk ; and imposes on all teachers holding any such meet- 
ings between sunset and sunrise, a fine of from £20 to £50. The 
third (§. 85,) makes it highly penal for any dissenting minister or teacher 
to receive any money from slaves, in the way of contribution for re» 
ligious or other purposes ; it being alleged, in the preamble to the 
clause, " that large sums of money and other chattels had been extorted 
by designing men, professing to be teachers of religion, practising on 
the ignorance and superstition of the negroes, to their great loss and 

It seems, therefore, fair to inquire, what could have induced the le- 
gislators of Jamaica, even if they saw it right to frame and pass such 
iniquitous clauses as these at all, to choose deliberately to place them in 
the midst of the criminal part of the code, bristling as it does with all 
sorts of enormities, and especially to connect them by more immediate 
juxtaposition, and interfusion, with the capital crimes of \\'\e. profession 
and the practice of Obeah ? It may have been, and probably was,^ 
their intention to intimate thereby their own opinion that the Metho- 
dist and other dissenting missionaries had found only their proper 
place, in the scale of moral turpitude, among murderers and felons, and 
would deservedly also share (had they so dared to enact) the murderer's 
and felon's doom of death or transportation. Or they might have 
wished to intimate that the pernicious lessons these missionaries con- 
veyed to the slaves, — the Christianity professed and taught by these 
sectaries — were on a level with the dark superstitions of the Obeah and 
Myal men and women. Satanic as such a purpose would be, yet, how, 
by any possibility, without some such intent, could the particular posi- 
tion for the insertion of these persecuting clauses have been so very 
curiously and aptly selected, by the Jamaica lawgivers of 1826, as inevit- 
ably to produce the impression in question? We would not willingly 
mipute to them so flagitious a design ; and yet let any man cast his eye 
at the Act of 1826, and calmly consider the order in which the clauses 

'New Slave Code of Jamaica. 75 

from 84 to 90 follow each other, and then say whether it be possible to 
escape from the inference we have ventured to draw from it. And are 
these men to be still intrusted with the work of legislation? The guilt, 
however, is not theirs alone, but ours also, if we go on to tolerate such 
abominations ; — if among all our other sins we continue obstinately to 
cling to such a system of crime, as has now been laid bare to the eye 
of the national conscience. 

When we recollect also the fabricated, and suborned, and garbled 
testimony by which the House of Assembly of that day, endeavoured 
to support their nefarious project of crushing or expelling Christian 
missionaries from the island of Jamaica, (see vol. iii. No. 50, p. 24, & 
No. 55, p. 162.) what can we conclude but that the whole of the alle- 
gations contained in the preamble to the persecuting clauses of the Act 
of 1826, were deliberate falsifications of fact ? But have we not reason 
also to discredit their statements with respect to the professors and 
practisers of Obeah, without the shadow of an attempt at proof 
of the facts on which they have pretended to found their sanguinary 
enactments respecting them ? For our own parts we believe the one just 
as much as the other,andno more. Their charges against the Obeah and 
Myal men and women, of dealings with evil spirits, and ot pro- 
ficiency in the art of poisoning, which have led to so many judicial 
murders in time past, and which are still likely to lead to many more, 
are, we firmly believe, as utterly untrue, and as little substantiated by 
any semblance of proof, as were their allegations of the seditious ten- 
dency of the Christianity taught by Methodists and dissenters, and of 
the pecuniary extortion and rapacity of which their missionaries were 
affirmed to be guilty. 

The latest effort of Jamaica legislation stands now before us fully ex- 
hibited to public view, and we require no other proof of the innate and 
incurable malignity of Colonial Slavery. The West Indians have been 
calling loudly for evidence. We demand, they say, a committee of the 
House of Lords, where witnesses may be examined on oath, and where 
proofs may be given of the lenity and humanity, nay, of the loveliness 
of the system we administer, drawn, not from musty records of the olden 
time; not from witnesses who have quitted the Colonies for thirty or 
forty years; but from men who, on their oaths, can testify to the actual 
comfort and happiness of the enslaved negro's lot, — so just a subject 
of envy to the British peasant, — so superior to that of those who are 
cursed with freedom. But can they produce more conclusive evidence 
than this new act contains, this perfect emanation of the wisdom and 
humanity of Jamaica, in the very year which has just passed over our 
heads ? Do they hope to strengthen it by bringing forward the men 
who, in ] 825, expunged from the minutes of the Jamaica Assembly the 
testimony of the Rev. J. M, Trew, on the evils caused by the rejection 
of Slave evidence, lest it should find its way to England ; (Vol. iv. 
No. 76. p. 108.) or even by calling upon the Elite of ihe West India body, 
the forty-one associated advocates of West Indian humanity, to confirm 
on oath the gross perversions of fact, the impostures which they have 
permitted to issue under the sanction of their high names, (Ibid. No, 82, 
p. 290.) In reply to all this and a thousand times more, we have only 

7-6 Further Illustrations of the Effects oj Slavertj 

to exhibit theJamaica slave laAv of 1831, — that latest and most perrecg 
representation of the Colonial mind, that infallible interpreter of (heif 
present principles and their present practice. Of these too it exhibits 
a favourable specimen. They were legislating; in the view of the 
British public. They knew that their proceedings would not escape 
observation and scrutiny. And yet such is their total unacquaintance 
with every sound maxim, whether of legislation or morals, and even 
with the feelings by which men, not breathing the atmosphere and 
wedded to the gains of Slavery are actuated, that the work they 
have at length so elaborately produced, and are holding up to admiration 
— this Act of theirs which we now present to our readers — can be viewed 
only as an -outrage on humanity, and as a crime in those who framed and 
in those, who when they shall have duly considered, shall continue to 
sanction, or even to tolerate it. What then is the remedy? Need we 
answer the question ? It is the extinction of Slavery ; the entire, the 
final, and we add without hesitation, the immediate extinction of 
Slavery; its extinction, indeed, accompanied by all due guards and pre- 
cautions, and a just regard to all fair and well founded claims on the 
part of individuals ; but still its extinction, its utter extinction in every 
part df his Majesty's dominions. 

II. — ■Further Illustrations of the Effects of Slavery 
ON Manners and Morals in Jamaica, 

Ttrawn from the periodical press of that Island. 

The Christian Record of Jamaica, (No. 1. of a new series,) for 
September 1831, has just reached us. It is a work which ought to be 
read by every owner of slaves in that island, especially by every one 
who is resident in this country at a distance of 5000 miles from the 
sight and hearing of his Avretched dependants. The first paper in this> 
number is especially addressed to them, and a few extracts may possi- 
bly stimulate their curiosity to peruse the whole, with which they can 
have no difficulty in being regularly supphed from Jamaica. 

*' It has often," say the Editors,'" been a matter of surprise and deep regret to 
US, to observe the carelessness and criminal unconcern with which the proprietors 
of estates commit their slaves, body and soul, into the power of persons, as their 
representatives in this country, who are totally unfit for such a charge.'' "They 
eanzrot imagine that they are not responsible for the rehgious instruction, as weli 
as for the temporal well-being of their slaves ;. and that they will not be called on 
hereafter to give a strict account of the spiritual advantages which they have af- 
forded them." " With what consistency, then, can a religious proprietor, in common 
with all others, commit his estates to a man, whom he knows to be grossly hu- 
mored, and therefore of necessity, irreligious ? Every proprietor must be pre- 
sumed to have some acqxiaintance with his attorney, and with so much of his 
character as the attorney takes no pains to conceal. At least, he cannot know or 
believe him to be a Christian man ; and yet he abandons'the slave's spiritual, as 
well as temporal, welfare wholly to his care ! What does he expect will be the 
conduct of such a man ? Does he imagine that he will teach the slaves to con- 
demn and abhor himself? or that he will allow others — -the ministers of religion 
for instance, to teach this to the slaves, if he can prevent it?" "So sinful are the 
ILves of the majoriti/ of attorneys in this country, and so litde trouble do they take; 

on Manners and Morals in Jamaica. 77 

io conceal their vices from public view, that the faithful minister of religion is 
compelled, by every obligation of duty, publicly to warn others from following 
tlieir example ; and when, as is the case every day, the slaves refer to the exam- 
ple of their managers in exculpation of themselves, it becomes his imperative duty 
to expose the sinfulness of these men, and, it necessarily follows, to hold them up 
as objects of disgust and pity — a feeling which we know is too frequently mingled 
with contempt. Now, will these men permit this to go on, if they can prevent 
it? Will they not endeavour to obstruct the acquisition of such knowledge by 
the slave, and to counteract, by all means in their power^ the influence and use- 
fulness of the minister? Should any one be inclined to doubt upon this subject, 
we now, on our personal knowledge, declare the fact to him. We tell proprie- 
tors at home — Christian Proprietors — that their representatives do, by every means 
and especially by secret and covert influence, endeavour to check the spread of 
true religion among their slaves, and to render nugatory the efforts of the minister 
to enforce the moral observance and the spiritual doctrines of the Gospel. This, 
we declare to be the conduct commonly pursued by the great majority of the white 
people on estates in Jamaica. And this their opposition arises, not only from 
the general hatred which an irreligious man always evinces to spiritual truth, but 
also from more immediate and obvious causes. Can it be supposed that an at- 
torney or overseer, who is living in adulterous intercourse with one of the slaves 
of the property on which he resides, (or with one, whom he has hired* or bought 
elsewhere, for the purpose ! !) will render facilities to a clergyman to enforce the 
obligations of the Seventh Commandment on that property ? Will he not rather 
' prevent the meddling hypocrite from interfering in his private concerns ?' — with 
his private property ? Such is the conduct which would in general be expected 
from such men ; and such is the course which we personally know to l3e fre- 
quently pursued." (p. 2.) 

" We concede that there are a few Attorneys who do not discourage religious 
instruction, further than by setting an irreligious example : but even these permit 
the respective Overseers under them, together with all the white persons on each 
property to act as we have described. And wherein, we would ask, consists the 
difference between these, who are the better sort, and those who are utterly de- 
praved ? Merely in this ; — the one permits persons under his authority to do that 
which the other does himself : — the example and the injury is, in both cases, the 
same to the slave. And it is an example followed to so appalling an extent, that 
morality and principle are almost unknown among the young females on estates 
in this country. Where a solitary instance of moral principle does occur, should 
the unhappy individual become an object of lust to the Overseer, or even to a 
Bookkeeper, every means — means altogether unjustifiable in the estimation of 
even the most abandoned, are resorted to for the purpose of overcoming her re- 
pugnance, and destroying her principle. The feelings of proprietors would be 
harrowed, were they made fully acquainted with the scenes of this nature, which 
are transacted on their estates. We have it in our power to detail not a few that 
would curdle the blood in the heart of every one not altogether deadened in mo- 
rality, by having long inhaled the pestilential atmosphere of a country which is 
poisoned by ' colonial sin :' But we forbear ; — not simply because ' the greater 
the truth the greater is the libel,' especially when tried in matters of tliis kind by 

" * The Proprietors in England are of course anxious to ascertain every parti- 
cular relating to their estates in this country, and especially the extent of the crop 
made ; and no doubt many have correct copies of the crop accounts recorded in 
the Secretary's Office transmitted to them. When examining these accounts of 
ttnnuul profits, proprietors may have met with such items as these, " hire of Gracey, 

a mulatto, to Mr. at £20 per annum." — " Hire of Anne Clarke, a mulatto, to 

Mr. at £l6 per annum ;" — " Hire of Jane Munro, a cjuadroon, to Mr. 

at £l6 per annum;" — " Hire of Catherine Stewart, to Mr. from 5th June 

to 31st December, at £20 per annum." — We wonder if it has ever occurred to 
them to inquire the purpose for whicli these females are hired I" 

78 Further Illustrations of the Effects of Slavery 

a Jamaica Jury; but because we would not be so unjust to the individuals im- 
plicated in those cases, as to make them singly the objects of indignation for con- 
duct they are only guilty of in common with the great majority of their fellows." 

Again, " Overseers seldom apjDear in church. We speak within bounds when 
we say that not one in tiventy of the white people in the country parishes presents 
himself in church on any Sunday; the greater number are never within the walls 
of a place of worship from January to December. Sunday is regarded by them 
as a day set apart for a totally different purpose. It is a day of recreation and 
pleasure — the day usually selected for dinner and festive parties, which frequently 
end in disgusting and degrading excesses, exhibited to the population of the 
estate. Or, among those who are not so totally lost to shame, it is spent in tra- 
velling to and fro from the Post-Office for the purpose of reading the newspapers, 
&c. passing, in very many instances, in their way to the Post-Office, the house of 
God, where the clattering of their horses' hoofs and the rattling of their chaises, 
attract the attention of the assembled congregation to behold their contemptuous 
disregard of God and his ordinances. Sunday is also the day universally fixed 
upon by Attornies and Overseers for travelling. — They will tell you, ' they 
choose this day because they do not wish to be absent from the business of the 
estate during the week :' " (p. 3.) 

The Colonists, it is asserted by their advocates " are not unfriendly 
to the religious instruction of their slaves ; on the contrary they are 
anxious to promote it." — Yes, they would have the slaves taught a cer- 
tain sort of religion, 

" A religion which will not condemn a man to eternal damnation, be- 
cause, 'from unavoidnhle circutnstances and his peculiar situation,' he had 
been compelled to commit a little fornication, provided he ' kept constant' to 
his sin : — which would not condemn him for a little drinking, swearing, lying, or 
bearing false witness, or for a little cruelty — ' provided in the whole he did his 
duty to his fellow-creatures.' Which would not condemn him for profaning the 
Sabbath, ' provided on the whole he did his duty to his God.' A Clergyman, 
or a Catechist, who will, by his prudent silence and discreet behaviour, sanction 
such doctrines, they will be happy to receive and to 'admit' on the properties 
under their charge ; but the slaves must be guarded against the ' pernicious,' not 
to say ' seditious,' preachings of ' Evangelicals and Sectarians' — men who, by 
their 'indiscreet zeal,' thus 'circumscribe the sphere of their usefulness!!' 
These, although they may appear too absurd to come from the lips of men of 
common sense, are nevertheless the very sentiments, or equivalent to the senti- 
ments, which we hear expressed around us every day, aye — which we have on 
record ! " 

" In further illustration of the feeling of the planters towards the teachers of re- 
ligion, we select from the writer we have already cjuoted, the following sentence. 
*They,' (the benevolent and pious) 'gready err, if they suppose the Colonists ini- 
mical to the object they have in view, however much they may occasionally have 
been irritated by the conduct of Anti-Slavery Missionaries.' — Now what does 
Mr. Barclay mean by Anti-Slavery Missionaries ? Does the Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety send Missionaries to Jamaica ? No. Are the Missionaries in Jamaica sent 
here for the purpose of secretly promoting the supposed objects of the Anti- 
Slavery Society ? No man of sense thinks this — no man who observes their con- 
duct impartially will credit it. Then why are they called ' Anti-Slavery Mis- 
sionaries?' Because they have taught true Christianity ; and having been perse- 
cuted by the Planters for so doing, they have very naturally appealed for protec- 
tion to their friends ' at home,' and the Anti-Slavery Society have taken np their 
complaint."* (p. 5.) 

" * This feeling of irritation and hostility is not evinced to the ' Sectarians' alone. 
It is true that the clergy of the Establishmeut did, for a long time, escape this 

oyi Manners and Morals i?i Jamaica. 79 

They conclude with solemnly calling on all, and especially on Chris- 
tian Proprietors to reflect on what they have said, and to reflect that 

" The generally degraded state of moral and religious feeling among the Attor- 
nies and Overseers in the Colonies is in no slight degree to be attributed to the 
indifference of their Employer to their character, in every other respect than that 
of 'plantership.' Let them but once know that immoral and irreligious conduct 
will as surely be followed by ' dismissal' as the failure of their crops, and we 
should very shortly witness at least an outward reformation — we should no longer 
be disgusted by the universal prevalence of unblushing libertinism,' or find the 
Ministers of religion insulted, and opposed in every effort they may make for the 
spread of real religion. Let the Proprietors athome give their orders, even to their 
present Representatives, expressli/, neither to live in concubinage themselves, or to 
permit it on their estates ; — to afford ' every facility' to the ministers of religion 
(making those ministers the judges of what are facilities); — to employ none but 
married overseers, or such single ones as will lead strictly moral lives. Let them 
give these, and similar explicit and positive directions, and at the same time make 
those to whom they are given intimately sensible that the continuance of their at- 
torneyship depejids upon obedience — that if they will not obey, others will be 

.SOUGHT WHO WILL." (p. 6.) 

2. A second letter from Mr. R. Grundy to the Editor, vindicates the 
Sectarians, as they are called, from the heavy charges brought a^-ainst 
them, " as hypocritical, dishonest, seditious," &c., and affirms " they 
have done more for the true good of Jamaica, than any other set of men 
that ever stepped on its shores. Just think for a moment," he adds, 
" what this country was forty or fifty years ago, before any dissenting 
church was planted in it. 

'-' When the parish Rectors used to baptise a parcel of poor Heathens in the 
morning, and thus make some times as many as a hundred good Christians out 
of them before night, and at the same time put a good round sum of money into 
their own pockets for the job, while scarce ever afterwards did they, believing I 
suppose that baptism is regeneration, trouble their heads about the moral state of 
the new converts. And, Sir, what is it but these very Dissenters coming here 
that has made all the change which we see, even in the Establishment itself? Is 
it more than reasonable to suppose, that but for their being here to act like a whip 
of many thongs, it would still be a great useless burthen upon the country, liv- 
ing upon its fat tilings, and making no manner of return, just like that lazy 
animal called the Sloth, that I once read about in a book of the history of beasts, 
which is said to climb up a fine flourishing tree, and never leave it while it can 
find a green leaf to feed on. 

" May be you will say, good Sir, that all this is very harsh, but I ask you is 
it not very true, as to what was the state of the Established Church formerly ? 
Thank God it is different from this now ; though still far behind what it ought to 
be, and wanting many a stroke of the cat-o'-nine tails just mentioned. The 
great error into which its Ministers have fallen, and which 1 wish to speak about 
in this letter, as appears to me, is the seeking of worldly patronage, and the striv- 
ing to labour with worldly instruments. Into this grievous mistake the Bishop 
has fallen, for he writes to Magistrates and Vestries asking them to help him in 
his labours, while most of them are giving all their help quite another way. He 

serious accusation ; and we must add that we fear they escaped the charge, be- 
cause they sacrificed duty io conciliation. But what is the fact now, since latterly 
a few of them have come forward to stem the torrent of false religion ? Why they 
too have been assailed by the very same outcry ! They too hfive been denounced 
as ' tools of the Anti-Slavery Society ! ! !' In short Evangelical, Sectarian, Anti- 
Slavery, and seditious, are synonymous in Jamaica," 

so Effect of Slavery on Manners and Morals in Jamaica. 

tj'ies to sail along with the current of bigotry and prejudice, when he ought to do 
his best to workup the .stream. His Clergy are for the most part right good 
fellows, boon companions of all the ungodly people about them, and dare not, 
for their lives, do any thing to displease men so necessary to their comfort." " I 
cannot mention a stronger instance of the endeavour to go hand in hand with pre- 
judice, and gratify the wishes of the worldly people about them, than that one 
which you have yourself often spoken strongly about. I mean the making Cate- 
chists and religious teachers of immoral book-keepers. I hope and trust this 
business is going to be soon put an end to. It is a disgrace, a crying shame to a 
body of professedly Christian Ministers, to be playing into the hands of the enemy, 
as they must do, by upholding such a system. I hope and trust the day is not 
far off when the Bishop and all the Clergy will have their eyes fully opened to the 
impossibility of doing God's work with such means as they know he cannot 
bless, and I am sure it is your and my duty to pray for that day's speedy 
coming." (p. 16.) 

3. The Christian Record had been charged with exaggeration in the 
account given in one of its early numbers of the "Libertinism of Jamaica." 
(Reporter, vol. iv. No. 76, p. 137.) The Editors now come forward 
to justify it by giving an avitlientic statement of the Baptisms of illegiti- 
mate and legitimate free children in the different parishes of the Island, 
in 1830, as taken from the Registry in the Bishop's office in Spanish- 
town, (p. 24.) The account is confined to the free, there being no slave 
children that can be called legitimate. 

Return of Baptisms in Jamaica, from the \st January to the 2\st 
December, 1830. 




St. Catherine 

St. John 

St. Dorothy 

St. Thomas in the Vale 




St. Mary 

St. Ann's 


Port Royal 

St. Andrew 


St. Thomas in the East . . 

St. David 

St. George 

St. Elizabeth 

Westmoreland ..... 



St. James 







































■ 12 









Total .... 




(These Illustrations to be continued.) 
London:— S. Bagster, Jun., Piinter, Baitliolomew Close, 



No. 94] FOR MARCH 10, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 3. 


A PAMPHLET was published, about the close of last year, by Mr. 
Jeremie, the late President of the Royal Court of St. Lucia, and now 
the King's Procureur General at the Mauritius, entitled, " Four 
Essays on Colonial Slavery." This work, which has already reached 
a second edition, has given a very striking and. most instructive view 
of the nature of those occurrences which in Slave Colonies are digni- 
fied with the imposing appellation of Insurrection. He had. been 
the instrument in the hands of Government of framing, and afterwards 
carrying into effect, a new code for the government and protection of 
the slaves in the island, of St. Lucia. This code was extremely ob- 
noxious at first to the planters of St. Lucia, and all the ordina,ry 
means of opposing its introduction and thwarting its execution were tried, 
in vain, having been rendered abortive, by the firmness and decision 
of Mr. Jeremie. At length the hitherto never-failing expedient, in the 
tactics of slave holders, of a servile insurrection, was thought of, and 
got up with some effect. The main agents in the plot were the planters 
themselves, aided by the influence of some members of the King's 
Council, and of not a few of the public functionaries of the colony, 
and countenanced even by General Stewart the governor. But the 
case will be better understood if Mr, Jeremie is permitted to narrate 
the facts. 

About the close of 1828, or the beginning of 1829, the feeling be- 
came very strongly prevalent in St. Lucia that Government wished to 
relax the rigour of the laws which Mr. Jeremie had introduced ; and 
as he proved inflexible, an attempt was made, by means of a pretended 
insurrection, to get rid at once of him and of his obnoxious regulations. 
The attempt indeed did not succeed ; but the matter was so represented 
by the governor in his public despatches, as to produce the impression 
at the Colonial Office that an insurrectionary movement had actually 
taken place among the slaves. In consequence of this base and cri- 
minal conduct, Mr. Jeremie " deemed it his duty to bring charges of 
wilful and corrupt misrepresentation against two privy counsellors and 
the secretary of government." (p. 100.) " The inquiry into these 
charges was made in open court," and " the whole case will furnish 
a tolerable insight of what is meant by a West Indian insurrection. 
This," he adds, " was not the only occasion in St. Lucia when such 
things were reported : but this transaction having gained rather more 


82 Pretended Insurrection in St. Lucia of 1829. 

notoriety, and the facts being proved beyond question, it forms a 
tolerable example of the whole." He thus proceeds: — 

" Rumours the most unfounded were at once set afloat, estates 
were specified where the gangs were in utter disorder, nine or ten 
especially, and one of them, where, owing to the slave law having 
avowedly been neglected, the manager had been cautioned. This 
estate was said to have been abandoned by the negroes ; some to have 
fled — the whole to have so neglected their duty, that the produce (of the 
boiling house) had diminished from 16 to 3 hogsheads a week. The 
slaves, it was said, had fled to the woods, mountains, and ravines; — 
negroes had been taken up with large bundles of newspapers of 
the precise year when the slave law was promulgated, (1826,) and it 
was added, that gangs from the most distant and unconnected quarters 
had struck, and had also sought refuge in the woods, after destroying 
their master's property, as manufacturers destroy machinery at home. 

" Accordingly, militia detachments were sent out, headed by field 
officers, in addition to two permanent detachments, in various direc- 
tions, in search of the insurgents : five were sent out from one quarter, 
— three from a second, — three from a third, — three from a fourth ; 
and hundreds — aye, thousands, of ball cartridges, were distributed 
throughout the country. The white troops were to be quartered on 
the refractory estates ; and the planters in one of the quarters and its 
neighbourhood were desired to turn out with their best negroes ; this 
description of force alone amounting to several hundred men. 

" Next, the governor himself went into the mountains, with a nu- 
merous staff, to point out the exact plan of operations by which that 
insurrectionary movement was to be put down. Then a militia order 
was to be issued, and read at the head of the detachments, comparing 
these various convulsions, (' though it had not quite reached that 
height,') to the melancholy period of 1796, when it cost Great Britain 
4,000 men, headed by Abercrombie, to restore order in St. Lucia 

" Now, what was the fact? In the whole of that part of the island^ 
where the governor had taken on himself the direction of the troops ; 
where these detachments, under their colonels, had scoured the woods, 
mountains, and ravines ; it appeared there were exactly eight negroes 
in the bush, including females. The bundles of newspapers were a 
piece of wrapping paper, about the size of a man's hand, on which an 
ignorant slave had made a few crosses, and produced as his pass. 
The story of the destruction of property was a pure fiction. The 
specific complaints proved to be worse than frivolous, and the only 
gang, where there had been the least movement, was one with respect 
to which the proprietor, on a subsequent inquiry, has been proved 
never, since the promulgation of the slave law, to have clothed his 
negroes, and where they had been made to get up to labour in the 
field by moonlight. On that occasion, fifteen had left their owner in 
the evening, and had presented themselves in the morning to the next 
planter, to intercede for them. He had done so, and they had re- 
turned quietly to work before any of these extraordinary measures 
were taken. 

Motion of Mr. Buxton, April 15, 1831. 83 

'" In short, it was proved, that throughout the island only the usual 
-average, 5 in 1,000, (taking the whole slave population) which is pro- 
bably less than in the best disciplined regiments in the service, were 
away from their estates ; and this too was at the very commencement 
of crop, when the number of runaways is always largest. 

" Again, in October, another panic was attempted to be created, 
but was put down. Indeed, throughout the year, endeavours in every 
shape were made to prove the impracticability of continuing these new 

" But how did the matter end ? By placing, beyond question, the 
advantages resulting from them." 

Mr. Jeremie proceeds to detail the evidence which produced this 
satisfactory conviction, and thus closes his statement : — 

" Such was the result of the fullest inquiry that could be held, not 
at a distance from the spot, or with persons insufficiently defended, 
but in the island itself, in the midst of their friends and partizans, — 
partizans unbending in their prejudices, firm in their purpose, not over 
scrupulous as to means, yet when they came to facts utterly impotent; 
though provided with what they considered the best legal advice that 
could be obtained in the West Indies ; — and this, too, in the very 
island where measures of reform had made the greatest progress, and 
where, avowedly, the authorities were firmly bent on seeing them ex- 
ecuted to the letter. 

" Here, then, is the testimony of the authors of the measure, of its 
reluctant friends, and of its most determined opponents, backed by 
official returns. Never could measure be more completely sifted." 

If the very slightest doubt should be entertaiiied as to the accuracy 
of these statements, by any gentleman in Parliament, and especially by 
any of the numerous West India proprietors who crowd the benches 
of the House of Commons, he has only to call for the evidence taken 
in the course of this inquiry. It was officially transmitted to Downing 
Street by Governor Farquharson, in December 1830, and is now depo- 
sited in the office of the Secretary of State for the Colonial Depart- 
ment. The purpose, for which these documents are now referred to, 
will appear in the sequel of the remarks now offered to the public. 
But it will first be necessary to turn to another part of the subject. 

On the 15th of April, 1831, Mr. Buxton moved in the House of 
Commons the following resolution : — 

" That in its resolutions of the 15th of May, 1823, this House dis- 
tinctly recognized the evils of colonial slavery, and the duty of taking 
measures for its ultimate abolition : that, during the eight years which 
have since elapsed, the Colonial Assemblies have not taken adequate 
means for carrying those resolutions into effect : that, deeply im- 
pressed with a sense of the impolicy, inhumanity, and injustice of 
colonial slavery, the House will proceed forthwith to consider and 
adopt the best means of effecting its abolition throughout the British 

To this motion an amendment was moved by Viscount Althorp, the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the following purport : — 

" That this House, in its resolutions of the 15th of May, 1823, 

84 Motion mid Speech of Lord Althorp, April 15, 1831. 

distinctly recapitulated the evils under which the slaves in the cdlo- 
nies laboured, and the duty of the colonies to take decisive measures 
to relieve the slave population, and to prepare the negroes for parti- 
cipating in the privileges enjoyed by the other subjects of those 
colonies. That in those colonies, where there are no legislative 
assemblies, laws have been promulgated for ameliorating and im- 
proving the condition of the slave population ; but in those which 
have legislative assemblies, though eight years have elapsed since this 
House passed the resolutions referred to, and though these colonies 
have been repeatedly urged to enact similar laws, no such laws have 
been enacted, nor have any measures been adopted to give effect to 
the resolutions of this House, to the urgent opinions of the Govern- 
ment, or to the wishes of the British nation." 

And then, he said, he should propose a mode in which the colonies 
would find that they had an interest to adopt the proposition before 
made hy the House. The resolution he should propose was as follows: 

" That in the rate of duties levied on the produce of the labour of 
slaves, such a distinction shall be made as will operate in favour of 
those colonies in which the resolutions of this House have been adopted 
and the wishes of the Government complied with." 

The noble Lord accompanied this proposition with a speech, in 
which he stated, that while he could not concur in going the whole 
length of Mr. Buxton's motion, he nevertheless was " a friend to the 
abolition of slavery," " had always voted for it," and " felt the greatest 
anxiety that the period should arrive when the emancipation of the 
slaves might be safely undertaken," " Eight years ago a resolution 
was passed, declaring they should be ultimately emancipated," and 
" Orders in Council were issued to carry its spirit into eifect; but, up 
to this time, in none of the colonial legislatures have the recommenda- 
tions of the Crown been adopted." " It is impossible, then, for the 
House to stand still." " We are now nearly in the same situation in 
which we were in 1823." " We are called upon, then, not to stand 
still," " Often have I heard Mr. Canning say from this bench, that fair 
notice had been given to the colonists, and that unless they volun- 
tarily complied, it would be necessary for the Government and for 
this House to take some strong measures to enforce their determina- 
tion. The time I think is now come to give notice to the colonists, 
by other measures than those of mere recommendation. We must 
adopt means to convince them that we are in earnest, and will perse- 
vere in the steps we have recommended, and satisfy the country that 
the resolutions we have passed were not intended to be a dead letter 
on our table. On the other hand, I do not think the West Indian 
interests should be surprised, after so long an interval, if Parliament 
at length took steps to carry its will into effect. There are two modes 
by which this may be done : it may be done by direct legislative in- 
terference in colonial affairs — we may pass laws in the Imperial Par- 
liament to impose regulations on the colonies ; but I admit this is a 
step which I should wish very much to delay, although ultimately, if 
the colonies persevere, it will be the bounden duty of Parliament to 
act in such a manner. I agree with the object which the hon. gentle- 

speech of Viscount Howick, April 15, 1831. 85 

man has in view, but not exactly with the resolution by which he pro- 
poses to effect it. 

" This proposition calls on the Colonies for a compliance with 
our wishes, by making an appeal to their interests. This appeal, I 
admit, would not be a fair or justifiable proceeding, if we asked from 
the colonies anything that was unreasonable ; but we ask nothing 
of the sort — nothing which it has not already been proved might be 
safely adopted — nothing which has not already been carried into ef- 
fect with the utmost degree of security in the Crown colonies, and 
which, indeed, has worked so well at St. Lucia, that that colony has 
sent up an address to the Government, expressive of their approba- 
tion of the measures which the Government has adopted, though they 
state at the same time, that on the first appearance of these measures 
they were viewed with some degree of prejudice. In conclusion, I 
think it is impossible for any man to say that a state of slavery, whe- 
ther productive of a diminution in the amount of population, or of any 
other evil, is not to be regretted, and I am satisfied there is no man 
in this House who will stand up and say that it is a state which it is 
not desirable to get rid of. Every exertion ought to be made to rid 
us of its presence. Of the evils of its existence we are assured, and 
1 do not therefore see the advantage of appointing a Committee of In- 
quiry. The point on which I put the case is, that the resolutions of 
1823, were unanimously agreed to eight years ago — I put it on the 
Orders in Council, and on the adoption of those orders in the Crown 
colonies — an adoption which has been followed by nothing but the 
most beneficial efi^ects — and, finally, on the fact that these resolu- 
tions have been pressed upon the other colonies, but have not been 
adopted. These are facts which we do not require a Committee of 
Inquiry to make out. We know what are the laws that have been 
adopted in the Crown colonies, and what are those that are in force 
in the colonies which possess legislative assemblies ; and I therefore 
think that a Committee of Inquiry would be useless, and that this 
House, if it consults its own dignity, and the wishes of the country, 
will do nothing but insist on the enforcement of the measures which, 
on previous occasions, they have desired should be adopted." 

This temperate but decided speech of the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer was followed, at a later period of the debate, by one from 
Viscount Howick, the Colonial Under Secretary of State. It is only a 
part of this able speech, which on the present occasion, we shall have 
occasion to cite, but that part has a most important bearing on the 
subject of the present pamphlet. 

" The Honourable and Learned Gentleman (Mr. Burge the Agent of 
Jamaica) asks, if we mean to abandon the policy of 1823, and to sa- 
crifice property ? For myself, I have no hesitation in answering in 
the negative. I would, unquestionably, preserve the rights of pro- 
perty, but I would not preserve them at the expense of the rights of 
the slave. I object to immediate emancipation, for the sake of the 
slaves themselves ;* but were I convinced that immediate emancipa- 

* Is there then any really substantial ground for the apprehension implied in 
this opinion ? 

86 Speech of Viscount Hoivick, April 15, 1831. 

tion could be effected with safety to the slaves, I should say, let it 
take place at once; the planter might then, indeed, have a just claim 
on the British nation, by whose encouragement and sanction he has 
been induced to acquire the property of which he would be deprived. 
It would be unjust that the whole penalty should fall on those who 
have only shared the crime by which it has been incurred. But, 
however large the claim of the West Indian for compensation may be, 
I do not hesitate to say that it should not stand in my way for a mo- 
ment, as weighed against the importance of putting an end to the 
sufferings of the slaves. I consider the whole system of slavery one 
of such deep oppression, and iniquity, and cruelty, that, if I could be 
satisfied it v/as safe to emancipate the slaves now, I would say, ' Do 
so, and do it at once ; and we will settle scores among ourselves 
afterwards, and determine in what proportion the penalty of our guilt, 
is to be paid ; but the victims of that guilt must not continue for one 
hour .to suffer, v/hile we are haggling about pounds, shillings, and 

" I confess I do feel more diflficulty in combating the resolution pro- 
posed by my Honourable Friend the Member for Weymouth, than in 
meeting the opposition with which we are threatened from the West 
India body. But much as I abhor slavery, I feel that we could not 
without danger adopt the course proposed. On mature consideration, 
I feel that it would not be safe to the colonists, nor advantageous to 
the slaves themselves, that slavery should be abolished immediately 
and at once ; and I believe that the course which my Honourable 
Friend, the Member for Weymouth, proposes for our adoption, would 
be attended with many dangers. Even if I were prepared to agree to 
actual emancipation, I should object to that course. I consider that 
the only wise mode of carrying it into effect would be by a full and 
detailed measure ; and, until some safe and practical plan of eman- 
cipation is laid down before the House, I shall protest against the 
adoption of resolutions, which could have no other possible effect but 
that of irritating the master, and of exciting in the breast of the slave 
expectations which must be disappointed. We had lately a tragica 
instance of the effect of vague expectations on the minds of slaves ; 
and if the slave should come to know that it was declared, by so high 
an authority as this House, that he was entitled to his freedom, and 
should yet find that he was left for months and years in unmitigated 
slavery — if he should be left in this state of high-raised expectation 
and actual suffering, I cannot contemplate the consequences without 
shuddering, t 

" I should not propose, at once, to emancipate a large number of 
slaves if I had the power of doing so ; I should not emancipate ten. 
to-day, and ten more to-morrow : I should rather take off a part of 
the v/eight of slavery, and endeavour gradually to assimilate the slave 

* Compare these sentiments with the Anti-Slavery Reporter, Nos. 70 and 75, 
■and their coincidence will appear very remarkable. 

t This is just; but is it not the very best reason why the measure should .be 
prompt, immediate and irresistible ? See Anti-Slavery Reporter, No. 70. 

speech of Viscount Hawick, April 15, 183L 87 

to the freeman.* If the House sanctions the resolutions proposed by 
my Noble Friend, an amended Order in Council, now in course of 
preparation, will be issued — the adoption of which, word for word, it 
is proposed to render imperative upon every colony v*'hich seeks for 
the indulgence it holds out. In this Order will be embodied the im- 
provements referred to in the different Orders of Council issued by 
Lord Bathurst, and by the Right Honourable Gentleman opposite. 
(Sir G. Murray.) We shall, therefore, continue to advance towards 
our great object, on the same principle on which we set out. 

"The honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. Burge) complains that 
we propose to do more than Lord Bathurst proposed. But I contend 
that it was never the intention of Lord Bathurst to stop short at what 
he first proposed. In his first despatch Lord Bathurst uses these ex- 
pressions : — ' These suggestions are not to be understood as afford- 
ing a full developement of the intentions of his Majesty's Government ; 
but merely as recommending such changes as may be conveniently 
adopted at present ; and as may lay the foundation for further and 
more effectual measures of improvement.' And the same principle 
was distinctly laid dov>^n by the Right Honourable Gentleman oppo- 
site, during the last year, in the circular with which he accompanied 
the amended Order in Council. The proposed new Order in Council 
will proceed upon the principle laid down by Mr. Canning, that no 
regulation for the benefit of the slave which has been adopted in one 
colony, can be considered impracticable in any, and that by collect- 
ing every thing good which has been found successful in any colony, 
and applying it to all the other colonies, a great advance will be ef- 
fected. Such an Order in Council is now in preparation, embodying 
every improvement which has already been tried with success, either 
in our own colonies or in those of any other Power, and, without 
adopting any new principle, supplying any defects which have been 
discovered in the manner of carrying irto execution what has already 
been attempted. Other and pressing business has prevented the Go- 
vernment from giving that attention to the details which is necessary 
before it can be finally issued. It was my most anxious wish that, 
previous to this debate, it should have been before the House. This 
Order in Council will be sent out to the colonies with the intimation 
that, to entitle them to the indulgence which it is intended to hold 
out, they must adopt it word for word, without addition or alteration. 

" The honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. Burge) complains 
that this is an improper interference with the internal regulations of 
the colonies. It is what it professes to be, a measure of coercion, but 
it is not a legislative interference with the internal regulations of the 
colonies. That we have a right so to interfere, in common with my 
noble friend, I most strenuously maintain. And if the measures now 
proposed fail, — if they do not turn out according to our wishes, — I 
shall contend that we have not only the right, but that it will be our 
duty to interfere by direct legislation. But, Sir, there is another 

* Yet Government have at once emancipated 2000 slaves of their own, with- 
out any apprehension, and without any evil consequence arising from the measure. 

88 Speegh of Viscount Howick, April 15, 1831. 

reason which seems to have escaped the honourable and learned 
gentleman, for making the proposed distinction, in the duty on their 
produce, in favour of those colonies which adopt the measures we re- 
commend. What is the motive for all the hardships which the slaves 
are liable to ? Slavery is maintained chiefly for the purpose of raising 
sugar, and if we admit the sugar raised by the labour of slaves on the 
same terms, whether or not the regulations are enforced which we 
think necessary for their protection, and for the amelioration of their 
condition, are we not parties to the guilt of maintaining the system in 
all its barbarity ? 

" This country has the clear right to disclaim all participation in 
such a system, and to say, I will not encourage so objectionable a 
system ; .1 will not receive the produce of the labour of slaves unless 
you assure me that no cruelty is practised in raising it. All that now 
remains for me to do is, to endeavour to shew to the House that, by the 
measure we propose, a great practical improvement will be effected in 
the condition of the slaves. The changes already introduced into the 
Crown colonies, with the farther improvements which are in contem- 
plation, will, I trust, be speedily adopted in every colony under the 
British dominion ; and, supposing this to be the case, let me call to the 
recollection of the House how great a change will be effected in the 
condition of the slaves in Jamaica. In the first place, the banishment 
of the whip from the field will in itself effect a complete change in the 
character of slavery. The Negro now labours under the continual 
dread of the most severe bodily suffering. Any relaxation of the in- 
tensity of labour causes the lash immediately to be applied. By this 
means that degree of labour is obtained in our colonies which is found 
to be so fatally destructive to human life. Now, Sir, the system of 
driving, under v.'hich both men and women at present labour in Ja- 
maica, will be abolished ; the use of the whip, with regard to women, 
will no longer be permitted at all ; in cases of punishing men, not 
more than fifteen lashes will be allowed to be inflicted in the space of 
twenty-four hours, and this not until six hours after the commission of 
a specific offence. The nature of the oflence, and the amount of 
punishment inflicted, must also be recorded in a book to which the 
protector of slaves will have access. Instead of seeing the whip 
continually brandished over him, the slave will be only subject, in case 
of a specific offence, to not more than fifteen lashes in the twenty-four 
hours, inflicted six hours after the offence has been committed, and 
the punishment awarded. Many honourable members who have not 
considered the subject, may not be aware of the great importance of 
this change. It is a radical change, I may say, in the system ; for it 
is the substitution of one motive to exertion, one stimulus to labour, 
for another. The prospect of punishment will be sufficient to prevent 
the slave from refusing to work ; but it is not -enough to extort from 
him the last degree of human exertion, which is done when the whip 
is continually brandished over his head. The driver may say to the 
slave, ' If you don't take care, you shall have fifteen lashes in the 
evening;' but he cannot continue that threat — its force will be speedily 
exhausted. While the slave-owner is allowed to employ the whip in 

speech of Viscount Howick, April 15, 1831. 89 

the field, he can extort the labour of the slave by the constant stimu- 
lus of fear, but if you deprive him of this power, if you reduce the whip 
to an instrument of discipline, you impose on the planter the necessity 
of finding- out some other stimulus, and tliis, in some shape or other, 
must be hope. It will probably be the hope of some indulgence it is 
in the master's power to bestow, for it is not to be expected at present 
that the master will give his slave wages ; this is a farther step in our 
progress ; but he will apply the stimulus of hope in another manner ; 
he will probably find it impossible to compel the slave to work as 
hard as he is able during a certain number of hours, and will be in- 
duced to give him task-work to a reasonable amount. The task must 
necessarily be within the utmost exertions which the Negro could 
make ; and the sooner he performed his labour, the sooner he would 
enjoy a respite from it. By this change we shall reduce the vs?hip to 
an instrument of punishment, and it will be no longer, as it now is, a 
stimulus to labour. The slave will no longer be like a horse in a team, 
who works through fear of blows, and we shall convert him from a 
brute beast to a rational animal. We shall appeal to the reason and 
the hopes of the slave, and not to his instinct and his fears — this will 
be a great change. 

" The next point is the separation of families, which will be effec- 
tually guarded against. Without entering into any discussion on this 
point, I may observe that the separation of families is not guarded 
against by the laws of Jamaica ; but that, by the measures proposed, 
it will be effectually prevented. In the same manner the right of 
compulsory manumission will be fully established. And here I cannot 
refrain from alluding to what has fallen from, the honourable and 
learned gentleman on the subject of compulsory manumission. The 
honourable and learned gentleman has contended that it is unjust to 
compel a master to dispose of his own slave against his will — to sell 
his oy^n freehold property . This observation shocked me more than I 
can describe. Is it not the ordinary practice of the British Legislature 
to compel a man to dispose of his own freehold property when it is for 
the public convenience ? Does the honourable and. learned gentle- 
man mean to say that it is unfair to make a man part with his slave 
for the value of that slave, when we every day compel a man to part 
with his property for the mere convenience of the public ? When, for 
the purpose of constructing a rail-road or a turnpike-road, we compel, 
by an Act of the Legislature, any man to sell property which he has 
neither acquired nor holds by guilt, or with a shadow of injustice, and 
this, too, upon the mere ground of convenience, is it to be said that 
we are to be barred from pursuing the same course when justice is 
concerned, and where the subject of the compulsory sale is that which 
no man can have acquired, or can retain, innocently — the freedom of 
an unoffending slave — the birthright of every human being ? 

" I did hear with astonishment this argument of the honourable 
and learned gentleman, and though it excited a great sensation in the 
House, I wonder that the sensation was not infinitely greater." 

" It is also proposed to allow the slave to purchase the freedom of 
his children. A slave will frequently be enabled to purchase the 


90 Speech of Viscount Hoivick, Ajiril 15, 1831, 

freedom of liis child when he could not purchase his own. When a 
child is first born, it is of little value to the master, and he would be 
inclined, for a small sum in possession, to give up the contingent 
profit to be derived from the labour of the child. On the other hand, 
in many instances, I believe the negro v/ill be ready to pay a large 
sum, to exempt his oftspring from the evils of that condition under 
which he is himself suffering. As to the due observance of the 
Sabbath, that is to be provided for by the most complete regulations. 
Not only will the slave be protected against being called on for the 
performance of any manner of labour on the Sabbath-day, but his 
free access to places of public worship will also be secured ;* the 
hours of labour will also be carefully limited ; and the insufficiency 
of food guarded against. I think I have now, though I am aware 
most inadequately and imperfectly, stated the great change in the 
condition of the Jamaica negro which will be effected, when the 
Order in Council, which we propose to issue, shall become law in that 
island. I hope, however, 1 have said enough to shew, that a great 
and substantial improvement will have taken place. I trust the House 
will see that this is not a mere attempt on the part of the Government to 
get out of a popular question, but a real step, and a decided advance 
in our progress towards that result, in which we are bound to persevere 
until we arrive at it. The measures proposed hold out a prospect of 
doing something effectual, and, therefore, I conceive that they are 
entitled to a fair trial. All I ask is, that we should give to these 
measures a fair trial before we proceed to others, which, if more 
speedy in their operation, are of more questionable safety — which are 
of such a nature, that one false step may lead to irreparable conse- 
quences. If the plan does not answer my confident expectations, I 
shall acknowledge that, after no long delay, it will be our duty to 
enter into the consideration of some such plan as that contemplated 
by my Honourable Friend. 

" I entirely concur with my Honourable Friend in the principle he 
has laid down, that it is the bounden duty of Parliament to put an 
end to the monstrous system which now exists. All I contend for is, 
caution in the manner of doing it. I hope my Honourable Friend 
will give a trial to the plan we propose ; and I hope further, that such 
a plan having been proposed, he will not think it necessary to press 
his motion to a division." 

The House did not divide upon the question. The debate was ad- 
journed for ten days, and in the mean time parliament was dissolved. 
It will probably be renewed ere long. 

Highly creditable to these two noble lords, as were the principles 
avowed, and the feelings expressed by them on that occasion, it was 
but too manifest to all, who had assiduously watched the progi'ess of 
the anti-slavery controversy, that at least as far as respected the 
chartered colonies, the course it was proposed to pursue, was not likely 
to produce speedily a beneficial result, but might issue not merely 

* The new Order, it is to be deeply deplored, fails in both these particulars. 
See the Anti-Slavery Reporter, No. 92, p. 20 — 27, and p. 31 & 32. 

Insurrectio7i in Barbadoesof 1816. 91 

in delay, but in disappointment and perhaps disaster. This had 
been the uniform effect of prospective notices of parliamentary inter- 
ference, whenever, as in the present instance, the colonists believed 
them to be given vpith a serious intention of being carried into effect. 
No measures of reform which have tended, in even a remote degree, 
to the abridgment of the power of the master, or the ultimate extinc- 
tion of slavery, however strenuously recommended by the Govern- 
ment, have ever been proposed to the deliberation of the colonial 
authorities, without exciting a general clamour among the planters, 
and leading them to have recourse to such expedients as might seem 
best fitted to avert the apprehended interference. Among these ex- 
pedients, that which has been most frequently adopted, and has 
pi'oved the most successful, has been the creation of alarms, in the 
public mind of this country, on the subject of servile insurrection. 

Accordingly when Mr. Wilberforce, in 1815, gave notice that it 
was his intention, in the ensuing session of Parliament, to move for 
leave to bring in a bill for the due registration of colonial slaves, 
the very proposition to interfere, by direct parliamentary enactment, 
with the subject of slavery, excited a universal clamour throughout 
the whole extent of the West Indies. That clamour, however, met 
with so feeble a response in this country, and seemed, to every unpre- 
judiced mind, to be so wholly misplaced, that it would probably have 
entirely failed of its object, but for the servile insurrection which so 
seasonably occurred in Barbadoes, and of which the intelligence 
reached this country, only a few days before that which Mr. Wilber- 
force had fixed for the second reading of his bill. The consequence 
was — its rejection. 

It certainly is difficult to conceive how an act for the Registration 
of slaves, should have been confounded, even by West Indian preju- 
dice, with an act for their emancipation. But such was the con- 
struction which the colonists chose to put upon it. They felt that a 
precedent of parliamentary legislation, on the subject of slavery, 
might open a way to ulterior measures which might involve the 
dreaded result, and they therefore assailed it with a vehemence which 
has scarcely been surpassed in any subsequent stage of the contro- 
versy. In JBarbadoes, especially, the clamorous rage manifested by 
the white portion of the community, at this alleged measure of enfran- 
chisement, was such, that it would not have been surprising had the 
slaves been led to suppose that it was really the pur^iose of Govern- 
ment to emancipate them, and that that purpose was only frustrated 
by the resistance of their masters. But this, though a very natural 
conclusion, does not appear to have had the very slightest influence 
in producing the tumult and the carnage which so opportunely ar- 
rested all parliamentary interference at that time. A plantation 
brawl between the slaves and their manager, a matter of frequent occur- 
rence in all slave colonies, happened to take place, in the neighbour- 
hood of Bridgetown, the capital of the island, the white inhabitants 
of which were at the time in an extraordinary degree of excitement, 
and ready to credit any rumour however extravagant. The intelli- 
gence was soon conveyed to that place, and the troops stationed 

92 Insurrection in Barbadoes of 1816. 

there, but especially the insular militia, chiefly composed of the low 
whites, rushed to the scene of disorder, and commenced the work of 
death with undistinguishing fury. They met with no resistance. The 
slaves fled and were pursued in all directions. At least 1000 of them 
were massacred in cold blood, and some hundreds more had already 
been suspended on gibbets before Sir James Leith the Governor, who 
was on a visit to a neighbouring island, returned, and put some stop 
to this wanton effusion of blood.* 

This melancholy transaction was of course at once dignified with the 
name of the Barbadoes insurrection, although it has never been official- 
ly announced, nor is it known, that a single white person fell by Negro 
violence, or that a single plantation was set fire to by the slaves. 
Much property, it is true,v/as destroyed on the occasion. The militia, 
it was admitted, had burnt down the Negro houses, on all the planta- 
tions which were considered as disturbed, from motives, it was said, 
of policy ; and how far these conflagrations may have extended to 
cane-pieces or to works it is impossible to say. But the most remark- 
able circumstance in the whole of this dark and bloody transaction 
was this, that the Colonial administration of that day refused to lay 
the Despatches of Sir James Leith before Parliament, and that the 
West Indians acquiesced without a murmur in that refusal. If the 
statement now made should be controverted, all that can be desired 
is, that the Despatches in question may noiv be prodviced. No pre- 
tence of danger can be alleged, nov/, as then, for refusing to disclose 
them to the public. 

Here, then, we have exhibited to our view the real nature of a 
servile insurrection, applied to the purpose, (if not got up for the pur- 
pose,) of upholding Colonial slavery in all its malignity, and averting 
the interference of Parliament for its mitigation or extinction. The suc- 
cess of the expedient resorted to was so complete that for seven long 
years no attempt at such interference was renewed. Government and 
Parliament contented themselves with passing some barren resolutions 
on the subject of Colonial reform, which were understood by the Co- 
lonists, to mean nothing ; and which produced no results whatever. 
After their defeat of Mr. Wilberforce's bill, they quietly resumed 
their cart-whips, and for these seven long years, slavery, with all its 

* The slaughter of 1000 or 2000 slaves must have been attended, it maybe 
said with such severe loss to individual proprietors, that no one will beheve that 
that loss would have willingly been incurred without an overpowering sense of 
danger. But it ought to be recollected, that in such cases, according to the 
standing policy of Colonial legislation, individual proprietors are always indem- 
nified by the public for slaves executed or transported or otherwise devoted to the 
public service. And perhaps no impost was ever less complained of by the 
white community of Barbadoes than this, which might be regarded as a cheap 
premium for the security it had purchased from any future invasion of the im- 
prescriptible rights of colonial despotism. This remark may be applied to all 
other cases of a similar description. This policy however smells of blood. It 
has been reprobated by successive Secretaries of State, but it still disgraces every 
Colonial Statute Book, and bears we are sorry to say, the stamp of royal appro-- 

Resolutions of 1823 — DeMerara Insurrection. 93 

attendant crimes, went on without disturbance. In 1822, the country 
and the government were again roused to the consideration of the 
subject, by some well-timed publications which fastened, on the minds 
of His Majesty's Ministers, a conviction that they could no longer 
decline the duty of attempting to abate this nuisance. Hence the 
well known resolutions of the 15th of May, 1823, moved by Mr. Can- 
ning, and the consequent communications of Earl Bathurst to the 
different Colonial Governors, containing His Majesty's recommenda- 
tions of Reform, backed by the resolutions of Parliament, and by the 
voice of the people of England, and declaring, in terms the most ex- 
press, " the NECESSITY of proceeding to carry these improvements into 
effect, not only ivith all possible dispatch, but in the spirit of perfect 
and cordial co-operation with the efforts of His Majesty's government;" 
and if any serious opposition should arise, he would " take the earliest 
opportunity of laying the matter before Parliament, and, submitting, 
for their consideration, such measures as it may befit to adopt in con- 

No sooner did this despatch arrive in the Colonies than the clamour 
of 1816 was renewed with similar fury. Lord Bathurst, judging of 
Colonial feelings by his own, which had never been sophisticated by 
holding the lash over a parcel of crouching slaves, preferred exercising, 
even towards the planters of the Crown Colonies, a generous confi- 
dence, by giving to them also, in the first instance, as well as to the 
chartered colonies, a deliberative choice with respect to His Majesty's 
recommendations. What was the consequence? Demerara, which, 
had the King spoken to them by an Order in Council, would have at 
once submitted, and taken, as their best remedy, the necessary means 
for preserving the peace of the Colony, joined the general clamour 
with more than the common licence. The outcry reached the slave. 
A number of them were proceeding to the Governor to learn from him 
the real state of the case. The very act of assembling for that pur- 
pose, though in a peaceable manner, was deemed rebellion, and the 
work of slaughter soon commenced. They were hunted and shot like 
wild beasts ; numbers were gibbeted by the summary sentence of 
courts. martial, and others had their flesh torn from their quivering 
limbs by cruel whippings, to the extent of even a thousand lashes, 
and to crown all, the Missionary Smith, who had taught the poor 
slaves those Christian lessons of mercy which had withheld their 
hands from shedding blood (for no white suffered from their violence), 
Avas arraigned as a traitor, tried Avith a solemn mockery of all the 
established rules of justice, and condemned to die as a felon.* 

All this might have been prevented had the Government of the day 
exercised its unquestionable right of commanding those measures to 
be enforced, on the planters of Demerara, which they chose rather to 
recommend to their adoption. 

* The powerful exposure of the whole of this case, made in the House of Com- 
mons, by Mr. Brougham, now the Lord High Chancellor of England, will never 
be forgotten by any who had the happiness to witness that extraordinary display 
of genius in the cause of liberty, justice, and national honour. 

94 Insurrection in Jamaica of 1823-4 

But in addition to the bloody tragedy in Demerara, the public ear 
was assailed with incessant rumours of plots from other places; from 
St. Lucia, Trinidad, Dominica, Barbadoes,&c.&c. In Jamaica alone, 
however, was any confirmation given to the rumour, by the shedding 
of innocent blood. The absolute destitution of all proof of any servile 
plot in that island, though not a few lives were sacrificed to give it 
some colour of reality, is now matter of history. The powerful ex- 
position of Mr. Denman, the present Attorney-General, in the House 
of Commons, forced, from the Ministers and Law Officers of the 
Crown, a reluctant admission of the absence of all rational evidence 
of a conspiracy, and of the headlong impetuosity with which men 
were hurried to the scaffold, (we allude particularly to the pretended 
conspirators of St. Mary and St. George,) on grounds which would 
not, under any other rule than that of slave holders, have justified a 
waiTant of commitment. Even of the imperfect and altogether unsatis- 
factory evidence produced, much was afterwards found to have been su- 
borned. But still the end was gained; — alarm was spread ; — the march 
of reformation was arrested ; — and the pledge of parliamentary in- 
terference, given by Mr. Canning and Earl Bathurst, postponed, sine 

If any doubt should be entertained of the correctness of these 
statements, we have only to refer for their proof to a document laid 
on the table of the House of Commons, and printed by its order, on 
the 1st of March, 1825, No. m, p. 37—132 ;— to the records of the 
debate which took place in that House on the subject of the Jamaica 
trials on the 2d of March, 1826 ;— and to a pamphlet published by 
Hatchard, in 1825, and re-published in 1826, entitled "The Slave 
Colonies of Great Britain, or a picture of Negro Slavery, drawn by 
the Colonists themselves." (p. 35 — 64.) 

Here again we have a second servile insurrection, excited just at the 
critical moment when it was especially needed to avert the threatened 
interference of Parliament, and it was unhappily attended by the 
same complete success as before. It has now, therefore, we presume, be- 
come the tried and approved specific for such occasions, and nothing 
could have more happily illustrated its real nature and objects than 
the circumstances of the St. Lucia rumoured insurrection brought to 
light by Mr. Jeremie, in his admirable work already referred to 
above, (p. 81 — 83.) This last, however, through his vigilance and sa- 
gacity, was fortunately bloodless. 

Under such impressions, v/hich are the impressions of almost all 
impartial men Avho have studied with attention the course of our Co- 
lonial history, it will not be matter of surprise, that when on the 15th 
of April, 1831, the fixed determination of His Majesty's Ministers 
was announced, at length to redeem the pledges, respecting Colonial 
Reform, given by the Government and Parliament in 1823, the 
usual and. hitherto successful expedient, for defeating this purpose, 
should have been again resorted to. In the Crown Colonies, indeed, 
where nothing was to be left to the choice and deliberation of the 
planters, but where an Order of the King in Council was at once to 
frame and promulgate the requisite provisions, and to enforce their 

Effect of Parliamentary Proceedings o/ 1831 in Jamaica. 95 

due execution by adequate sanctions and penalties, no resistance or 
even disturbance wjis to be apprehended. In the Chartered Colonies 
an Act of Parliament, embodying that Order, would have been 
equally efficacious, and equally safe. The planters might and would 
grumble at the laws which restrained their power within due bounds, 
but we should have had no resistance which the firm and temperate 
execution of the Act would not at once have repressed. Submission, 
on the part of the planters, must have followed as a matter of course; 
and the gratitude of the slave, for the benefits conferred upon him, 
would have secured his peaceful demeanour. He would have valued 
too highly and felt too deeply the blessings of such an alleviation of 
his condition, as the promulgation and enforcement of that Act would 
have produced, not to have shrunk from the slightest movement which 
could interfere with its beneficent operation. The very remission of 
the intense and continuous labour now exacted from him, under the 
stimulus of the lash ; the very idea that the exposed body of wife or 
daughter could no more be lacerated by the cart-whip, would have 
been felt in every pulse of his frame, and have enlivened all the 
charities of domestic life. 

Instead of an Act, however, conferring even these partial allevia- 
tions of his lot, came out only the annunciation, in the public papers, 
that such an Act would be recommended Xo the adoption of the 
Colonial Assemblies, under pain of fiscal inflictions on such as should 
reject the recommendation. 

The slaves, it may be supposed, were not wholly unapprized of this 
intelligence ; and though the assurance of alleviation was so remote, 
they appear to have manifested no symptom of impatience, nor the 
slightest wish to disturb the public peace. And it seemed to be the 
uniform opinion of all classes of the free community, from the governor 
downwards, that, as far as the slaves were concerned, no indications 
whatever of insubordination had appeared in any quarter of the Island 
during the months which intervened between the arrival of the intel- 
ligence in question and the close of the year. And this state of 
tranquillity was the more remarkable when contrasted with the extra- 
ordinary excitement which the intelligence produced among the white 

Immediately as it became known to the planters of Jamaica, they 
seemed to arise as one man, vehemently to protest against the menaced 
violation of their " dearest rights." The clamour became loud and 
universal. During the months of July, August, and September 
public meetings were convened in almost every parish in the Island. 
Speeches were delivered and resolutions passed there, of the most un- 
measured and inflammatory description, in which resistance to the 
mother country, and the renunciation of the King's allegiance were 
distinctly threatened ; and similar language was used, even within the 
walls of the Assembly. It would be endless to detail the whole of 
these proceedings, partaking almost all of the character of rebellion 
and revolt; but it is necessary, for the clear understanding of the 
case, that some specimen of them should be laid before the public. 

The first meetings which took place appear to have been held in 

96 Parochial Resolutions of Jamaica, 1831. 

the very parishes of St, James and Trelawney, which have been thei 
almost exclusive scenes of the late disturbances. In the former, Mr. 
Grignon, who since stands distinguished as Colonel Grignon, in the 
recent despatch of Lord Belmore, took the lead and proposed the re- 
solutions. The same office was performed in Trelawney by Mr. Frater, 
a member of the House of Assembly, whose name will be found not 
very honourably associated with the case of a poor Mulatto female 
slave of the name of Eleanor Mead, recorded in the third volume of 
the Anti-Slavery Reporter, No. 64, p. 346, and No. 71, p. 484. No 
man can read that authentic account of the harsh, unfeeling, and even 
brutal conduct of this person, and not augur ill from the result of any 
proceeding relative to slaves, in which he took a part and still more a 

The following are some of the resolutions of Trelawney : — 

" Resolved, that the means devised by a faction in the House of 
Commons to deprive us of our property, if carried into effect, cannot 
fail to create a servile war of too horrible a nature to contemplate, 
and that any person who attempts to produce or promote such war is 
an enemy to his country." 

" Resolved, that the conduct of the British Government in taxing 
us higher than other subjects ; in fostering our enemies and listening 
to their falsehoods against us ; in rejecting statements from impartial 
persons in our favour; in allowing designing men, under the saintly 
cloak of religion, not only to pilfer our peasantry of their savings, but 
also to sow discontent and rebellion amongst them ; in threatening 
to withdraw troops, for whose protection we have doubly paid, and 
which we might claim as our right, at a time a servile war may be ap- 
prehended ; is_most heartless, and in violation of justice, humanity, 
and sound policy." 

The resolutions proceed to state, that " thrown " as they are about 
be, " as a prey before misguided savages, we have no other alterna- 
tive than to resist ;" and to pray the King " that we maybe absolved 
from our allegiance, and allowed to seek that protection from another 
nation which is so unjustly and cruelly withheld from us by our own." 

The resolutions of St. James, proposed by Mr. Grignon, are in a 
similar strain. They talk of civil war and bloodshed, and. renun- 
ciation of allegiance, with a levity which shews that they thought 
only of the impression such language would produce in England ; 
and set wholly at nought the impression it might make on the slaves 
around them. 

In St. Thomas in the East, the resolutions, alluding to the fiscal 
regulations by which Government proposed to enforce the adoption of 
the reforms contained in the new Order in Council, state that if 
their constitutional rights are thus to be infringed, upon, " whether by 
the sword, or by a system of robbery, under the name of fiscal regu- 
lation," the attempt " will be resisted by every means in our power, 
and to the last extremity." 

Again, " That never can the West Indian Colonists hesitate between 
resistance in a just cause, however unequal the contest, or submission 
to the merciless fangs of a bigoted faction, who most basely revile 

Parochial Resolutions of Jamaica, 1831. 97 

and persecute us, nay, who thirst for our very blood, as evinced by 
the desire expressed in their frantic publications, to see the knife at 
«ur throats — to stand by and cheer on the blacks to our destruction." 

One of the resolutions generaUy adopted in the different parishes 
4ias respect to the establishment, in each, of a permanent militia to 
protect their lives and property from the designs of His Majesty's 
ministers, Avhile we seek, say the men of St. John, " protection uiider 
some other power where we may secure to ourselves a peaceful enjoy- 
ment of life and property." " Possessing, as we do, British feelings 
and honour," say the inhabitants of St, George, " we here publicly 
declare, that we will never submit to the spoliation of our property 
without a spirited and desperate resistance." 

The people of St. Ann resolve, " That hitherto, under the most 
marked infractions of our rights and principles, we have been loyal. 
Our attachment to the Mother-country has indeed long, very long, 
outlived her justice, and it would now be with grief that we should 
divest ourselves of a feeling which ' has grown with our growth, and 
strengthened with our strength,' but when we see ourselves scorned, 
betrayed, devoted to ruin and slaughter, delivered over to the enemies 
of our country, we consider that we are bound by every principle — 
human and divine — TO RESIST." 

All the resolutionists concur with a surprising unanimity in de- 
claring, that to comply with the wishes of Government on the subject 
of the treatment of slaves, (of course as expressed in the new Order 
in Council, for that embodies those wishes,) would be " to submit to 
annihilation," to incur "entire ruin." It may be well therefore, to 
look back to p. 88, to see what it really is which it was proposed 
to I'equire, and which has excited all this violence on the part of the 
planters. A slight glance at the measures which have roused their 
rage, will do more than volumes of controversy, or the accumulation- 
of oral evidence, to place, in the clear blaze of day, the real character of 
colonial bondage. Whatever may be the feelings of the resolu- 
tionists on the subject, it cannot be that the slaves should not be 
glad to learn that it is the purpose of Government to appoint pro- 
tectors for them; to put down the driving-whip; to forbid the flogging 
of women ; to legalize their marriages ; to prevent the separation of 
families by sale; to secure to them the enjoyment of their property; 
to admit their testimony in Courts of Justice ; to allow them to buy 
their freedom, or that of their children at a fair price ; to secure to 
them the rest of the Sabbath ; to provide them with sufficient food 
and clothing ; and to prevent their being forced to labour beyond 
their strength, by duly limiting their hours of labour. These points 
comprise nearly all that the Government have required, and it is their 
horror of these enactments which has led the planters of Jamaica to 
declare themselves ready to resist the lawful authority of the King 
and Parliament, even unto blood. 

And yet, who are the people who thus bluster and set at defiance 
the power of the parent state? The whole white population of Ja- 
maica does not exceed 14,500, men, women, and children. The nu- 
merical force of the white militia, if they Avere all collected into one 


98 Conduct of the WJiite Community of Jamaica. 

pointy would not amount to 4000 men of all arms, and this supposes 
every man from sixteen to sixty to wield a weapon. AYhy the king's 
troops stationed in the island, whose business it would be to repress 
the violence, and secure the submission, of these noisy insurgents, are 
nearly as numerous, and far more effective ; besides the 40,000 free 
persons of colour, who would to a man resist the slightest movement 
towards a transfer of allegiance to any other state whatever ; and 
still more the 330,000 slaves, whose interests and feelings would of 
course be deeply embarked on the side of loyalty. — What can equal 
the folly and senselessness of such language in such circumstances ! 
They resort to it only because they trust to its having some effect on 
the public mind in England. 

The Resolutions, which we have cited above, continued for several 
months to fill all the newspapers in the island, and their nature and 
object could not fail to be known to the slaves, who saw their masters 
in a state of almost open war with the supreme authorities of the 
empire, on measures intimately connected with their comfort and 
happiness. And yet amidst all this clamour and excitement, they 
maintained a calmness and forbearance which might well have put 
to shame their superiors. The public peace continued unbroken to 
such a degree that, towards the end of November, a member of the 
Assembly, who had distinguished him.self as a supporter of the Ultra 
Colonial party, had the good sense to perceive that now was the very 
time to make concessions, by which the interference of parliament 
might be obviated ; and he proposed to bring in bills to abolish female 
flogging and to sanction the principle of compulsory manumission. 
After considerable debate the propositions were rejected, the first, 
by a majority only of 27 against 3, and the second by a majority of 
34 against 2. This was about the beginning of December. 

Still not a symptom of insubordination was visible among the 
slaves, notwithstanding the natural tendency of all that had thus 
been passing, in their sight and hearing, on questions to them of the 
most vital interest. Nor does it appear that apprehensions of dis- 
order were entertained by the most timid, until the very eve of the 
alleged servile insurrection, which did not occur until the Christmas 
week, the closing week of the yea,r. 

Having brought these preliminary details to this point, it will be 
necessary to put the reader in possession of some other circumstances 
with which he may not be acquainted, but which are essential to a 
right understanding of this whole case. 

It had always been the custom in Jamaica to allow to the slaves 
three holidays at Christmas, during which no limit was put to the 
licence of their amusements, provided it did not interfere with the 
public peace. These three days were in fact their Saturnalia, and 
the complete relaxation of the ordinary restraints of slavery during 
their continuance, was of course very highly prized by the slave. As 
West Indians in this country may affect to doubt the correctness of 
this statement, we refer them to an authority which they will be 
loth to gainsay, we mean that of Mr. Alexander Barclay, a Member of 
the Jamaica Assembly, and who after more than twenty years' resi- 

Leliu and Usage of Jamaica as to Christmas. 9D 

ilence in that island, undertook to refute Stephen's Delineation of 
Slavery, and to defend the whole West India system, against the 
formidable attacks of that gentleman and of all its enemies. So 
highly valued is this work by the West Indians, that they have gone 
to an expense of several thousand pounds in giving it circulation. 
Now what is Mr. Barclay's account of this matter ? We quote from 
the edition of 1826 of his " Practical View of the present State 
of Slavery," p. 13. 

"While on the subject of Christmas," he says, "I may observe 
that THE v/HOLE of the negroes in Jamaica have three, and some 
of them FOUR days allowed for their amusements ; and that on this 
occasion their masters give them an allowance of rum, sugar, and 
codfish or salt meat." After adding some additional circumstances 
of indulgence, he concludes with this reflection : 

"To many who contemplate the West Indian labourers" (not 
slaves) "as 'wretches born to work and weep;' who have them 
associated in their minds with horrors, cruel oppression, and broken 
heartedness, the description I have given may appear a picture alto- 
gether imaginary, but let such persons ask any one who has been upon 
a Jamaica plantation, at a Christmas season, if the description is not 

Admitting it to be so, it will serve to throw some light on the "hor- 
rors, cruel oppressions, and broken heartedness" which have accom- 
panied the Christmas revels of 1831,- in one district of Jamaica. 

We have quoted Mr. Barclay at present, chiefly for the purpose of 
proving, by the best testimony of which the case admits, that the 
whole of the Negroes of Jamaica had usually three days allowed 
them for their amusements at Christmas. 

This is fully confirmed by the terms of the 28th clause of the Act 
passed by the Jamaica Assembly in 1826, but which was disallowed 
by the King in Council on account of its persecuting clauses. The 
terms are : — 

" And be it further enacted, that for the future all slaves in this 
island shall be allowed the usual number of holidays that are alloived 
at the usual seasons of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, provided 
that at every such respective season no 7nore than three holidays shall 
be allowed to follow or succeed immediately one after the other, any 
law, custom, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding." 

In the Slave Act passed in 1829, and which was also disallowed, 
the Assembly first shewed a disposition to tamper with the feelings of 
the slaves respecting these holidays. The holidays at Easter were 
wholly omitted. The Council amended the Bill by restoring the word 
Easter or Good Friday, thinking probably that it had been an inad- 
vertent omission. But the Assembly rejected the proposed amend- 
ment, and Easter remained excluded. (See Papers by Command, of 
1830, No. 676, p. 34.) 

We now come to the existing and allowed Act of 1831, in which 
the clause on this subject assumes a somewhat new shape. It is as 
follows : — 

§. 23, " And be it further enacted, that for the future all slaves in 

100 Law and Usage of Christmas Holidays. 

this island shall be allowed the holidays of Christmas and Easter. 
Provided that at every such respective season no more than three holi- 
days shall be allowed to follow or succeed immediately one after the 
other, any law, custom, or usage to the contrary, notwithstanding." 

Now here, not only are the words usual number of, and the words- 
that are alloiced at the usual seasons, which stood in the Act of 1826, 
carefully expunged, but Whitsuntide is excluded from the list of 
holiday seasons, and the three usual holiday seasons are therefore 
reduced to two. 

It is difficult not to believe that these changes were intended either 
as a kind of retaliation for the painful necessity imposed upon them of 
excluding the persecuting clauses, or as a trap for the unwary slaves. 
The Act itself, of 1831, did not come into operation till after 
Whitsuntide, 1831, not indeed till the 1st of November, 1831, other- 
wise the change might probably then have caused murmuring and 
discontent among the slaves. Christmas 1831, therefore, was the 
first occasion on which the attention of the slaves could have been 
particularly called to this new version of the law respecting holidays. 

The remarkable change in its structure had already called forth 
the pointed animadversions of Lord Goderich, who seemed almost to 
foresee the possible inconvenience that might arise from it. His 
Lordship's words are these : — 

" The. former statute declared, that ' for the future all slaves in the 
island should be allowed the usual number of holidays that were al- 
lowed at the usual seasons of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.' 
It is now enacted that they shall be allowed the holidays of Christ- 
mas and Easter. Thus the three annual holidays are reduced to two^ 
and the slave is deprived of the security formerly given to him, that 
he should enjoy * the usual number' of such days." 

This despatch of Lord Goderich was submitted to the Assembly 
on its meeting in October last, with a request that they would adopt 
this, and the other suggestions contained in it ; but the Assembly re- 
fused even to enter at all into the consideration of this despatch. It 
was unceremoniously ordered to lie on the table, and no further notice 
has been taken of it. 

The reader will excuse the length and minuteness of these details 
on the subject of Christmas, as it will be found to be intimately con- 
nected with the whole of the melancholy events which have taken 
place in two or three parishes, and which have produced the oppor- 
tune occurrence of another servile insurrection, at the very moment 
when it was most likely, once more, to be of use in averting parlia- 
mentary interference. 

It does not appear from Lord Belmore's despatches, or from any 
account which has been received in this country, that any disturb- 
ance whatever had occurred in eighteen of the twenty-one parishes 
which Jamaica contains ; neither is it stated, in any account which we 
have seen, that any attempt was made by the masters, in any of those 
parishes to abridge the usual number of holidays, which the whole 
slave population of Jamaica had always enjoyed at Christmas, and 
which Mr. Alexander Barclay assures us was three and sometimes 

Attempt to Abridge the Holidays of the Slaves. 101 

four days; a statement which seems fully borne out both by the terms 
of the Act of 1826, and by the insidious alterations introduced into 
that of 1831. Certainly, at Kingston and its neighbourhood, no 
doubt whatever appeared to be entertained of the right which the 
slaves had to the three days following Christmas, namely the 
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 26th, 27th, and 28th of De- 
cember, 1831. The Sunday on which Christmas day happened to 
fall was no holiday, nor was it ever considered as such in Jamaica, 
any more than in the public offices in this country where holidays 
used to be observed. Accordingly, we have now before us a letter 
from Kingston, dated the 5th of January, which distinctly affirms the 
fact that not only the 26th and 27th, but also the 28th had been ob- 
served as holidays in that city, and the surrounding districts. Not 
the slightest symptoms of disturbance occurred in that quarter. 
Moreover in a Kingston newspaper, which bears date the 31st of De- 
cember, and is now before us, we find the following decisive passage. 

" We have endeavoured to ascertain the causes which led to the 
disturbances in St. James, and find that an attempt to deprive the 
negroes of two of their holidays, is the principal, if not the only one. 
Christmas day was Sunday. This latter is unquestionably the pro- 
perty of the slave. They were therefore entitled to Monday, Tues- 
day and Wednesday, and it was an attempt to deprive them of the 
two last named, that led to the disagreeable results which all must 
lament. This view of the subject is borne out by the circumstances 
of Colonel Lawson's letter being dated the 28th, (Wednesday,) a 
circumstance, in itself, sufficient to justify the conclusion, that at- 
tempts had been made on the previous day (Tuesday) to compel the 
negroes to work. If our view be correct, it is easy to perceive on 
whom the blame ought to rest." 

Now without pleading for the correctness of this Editor's view of 
the subject, and even admitting that Colonel Lawson's letter, though 
written on the Wednesday may refer to that day, and not to Tuesday, 
which we think the most probable construction, enough remains to 
substantiate the fact, that an attempt was made in St. James to de- 
prive the slaves of one of their usual holidays, and that this attempt 
was the cause of the unhappy events which followed. 

But this is not all. We have in the Extraordinary Gazette, a letter 
from Mr. Macdonald the Chief Magistrate of Trelawney, to the 
Governor, dated Dec. 28, 1831, (Wednesday) in which he states that 
he believed that " nine-tenths of the whole slave population, have 
this morning refused to turn out to work ;" and this refusal to turn 
out to work he regards as "an actual state of rebellion." The 
refusal therefore to turn out to work on the master's plantation, on a 
day which the negroes hitherto had considered their own, both by 
law and by immemorial usage, is here assumed, by the chief magis- 
trate, to be " actual rebellion," and to justify him in treating the 
recusants as rebels in arms. 

This would be deemed strange doctrine in this country, if the 
Master of Eton College were so insane as to order his scholars to ply 
their school tasks, on the day usually dedicated to the montem, and, 

102 Measures of Repression resorted to. 

on their refusal to obey his mandate, to call for a military force to 
punish their rebellion. 

Utterly absurd as such conduct must appear to us, it was pre- 
cisely the conduct which Mr. Gustos Macdonald, had he not been 
happily confined to his bed by a fever at the time, says he would 
have pursued with respect to the 700 slaves belonging to Orange 
Valley estate. He learnt that these 700 slaves had, that morning, 
(the 28th, Wednesday,) refused to employ their own day of revelry 
in plantation work ; and he tells Lord Belmore, that had it been in 
his power, he would forthwith have assembled the militia and attacked 
them. How he would have proceeded in conducting that attack, is 
plain from the orders he afterwards gave to Colonel Cadien, with re- 
spect to these very slaves, as related in his letter to Lord Belmore of 
the 4th of January. — " My advice to Colonel Cadien was to take as 
few priso7iers as jwssible," — in other words, to slaughter all he could 
in cold blood. And yet all that we can discover the Orange Valley 
slaves to have done, was, to cease from Vv'ork on their own Wednesday, 
and when the military were sent to punish this rebellion, to retreat from 
the coming storm into the woods, quitting their houses, and carrying 
with them their oivn valuables. Their depot, it is true, was disco- 
vered and burnt ; but it is not said that the slightest injury was done 
by these slaves to their master's property. Orange Valley is no where 
mentioned as having had even a trash house burnt. Nay, it appears 
from Mr. Custos Macdonald's letter, in which he had just before 
communicated his cruel order to give as little quarter as possible, 
that the slaves, at least many of them, were at the very moment of 
his writing quietly " turned out to work" on the plantation. 

The only damage done on Orange Valley estate, therefore, as far as 
the Gazette affords us any information, Vv^as done to the property, 
not of the master, but of the terrified slaves, who had fled to avoid 
the n:ierciless fate to which the Custos tells us he had foredoomed them, 
namely, to the bullet or the bayonet, with as little quarter as possible. 

That we do him no wrong in this judgment is clear, from what he 
says in the same letter about the " refractory Negroes," the rebels in 
short, belonging to Kent estate; an estate, which, like Orange Val- 
ley, is not stated to have sustained any damage whatever. The slaves 
of Kent had, it seems, taken " every thing from their houses, even 
their children,'' and, as we suppose, had fled into the woods to escape 
the tender mercies of Mr. Custos Macdonald's detachment ; " but," 
he adds, with the energy to which he lays peculiar claim, ^' strong 
measures are to be immediately pursued against them." We await 
the result with no small degree of solicitude. 

And yet what was the crime, (even upon the shewing of the Custos 
himself, so far as he has chosen in this letter to throw any light upon 
it,) which had thus provoked his vindictive fury. They had taken a 
day, which had always been their own, for their accustomed revelry, 
and had refused to employ it in plantation labour; and when about to 
be attacked by an armed force, they had fled to the woods for shel- 
ter, and had carried their valuables and their childre?i with them ! 

Before we quit this subject of tRe wanton violation of the customary 

Circumstances and Progress of the Disturbance. 103 

holidays at Christmas, we will briefly advert to the only document in 
the whole Gazette which bears any mark of authenticity, though not 
only that, but every other document which has been given to the 
public in the Extraordinary Gazette of Feb. 22, seems to be made 
up in great part of mere suspicion, or of vague conjecture, or of idle 
rumour, or of terror and alarm. We allude to the affidavit of a man 
of the name of Annand, the overseer of a small property, called 
Ginger Hall, belonging to a Mr. George Longmore, which we can 
hardly believe to be a sugar estate, having only a hundred Negroes 
upon it, who distinctly states, that he had given orders to the slaves 
to turn out to work on Wednesday, the 28th of December ; from 
which order, according to his own account, evidently resulted the dis- 
order that followed ; for till that moment, he admits, that he had seen 
nothing in their conduct to lead him to suspect any thing of the kind : 
he was, therefore, he says, " much surprised at their insubordination." 

We have now established the fact, that in the parishes where any 
serious insubordination occurred, it seems to have been directly ex- 
cited by the attempt of at least some planters to deprive the slaves of 
a day to which they conceived themselves to have an undoubted 
right, and in which opinion they seem fully borne out by immemorial 
usage ; by the laws which had preceded that which had come into 
operation, for the first time, only a few weeks before; by Mr. Alexan- 
der Barclay's clear and decided testimony ; and by the course 
pursued throughout the Island, except in St. James and one or two 
adjoining parishes; in which alone disturbances seem to have occurred. 
That in such circumstances some disturbance should have taken place 
can hardly be matter of surprise to any one, especially when it is re- 
collected that Christmas is a time of revelry, and that, among other 
things, an allowance of Rum, Mr. Barclay tells us, is then distributed 
to the slaves; under the added excitement of which many of them may 
have been found, when the premature and unwelcome summons 
reached them to resume the hoe on pain of the cart-whip. 

Having established this point, and also that the refusal, under these 
circumstances, to tur]i out to work was regarded as an act of rebellion 
to be visited with svunmary and unsparing military execution, we must 
forbear from prosecuting farther at present the history of these melan- 
choly transactions. That -during the subsequent stages of the dis- 
turbance many violent acts may have been committed by the slaves 
v/e cannot pretend to deny ; but the details which follow the 28th 
are so vague and uncertain, either as to the nature or the eiTects of 
that violence, that we dare not venture, without further authentic in- 
formation, to speak with any precision on the subject. We must, 
therefore, satisfy ourselves for the present with having traced the dis- 
turbance home to its real source. Which of the conflicting parties, 
when the melee, had once commenced by calling in the military, have 
shared most largely in the subsequent outrages, and in the guilt at- 
tendant on those outrages ; we shall probably be better able to appre- 
ate before we publish another number of our work. 

But while we decline to pursue the history of these painful occur- 
rances beyond the point at which we have arrived, the 28th of Dec, 

104 Circumstances and Progress of the Disturbance. 

(the abstracted Christmas holiday) there are several circumstances 
-which appear on the face of Lord JBelmore's despatch, and its volumi- 
nous accompaniments, which merit a brief notice. 

1 . It is no where stated that a single life had been taken by those 
called insurgents, while it is stated that Negro blood had flowed freely 
and copiously. On this point, however, we shall probably soon have 
fuller and more precise information. Sir Willoughby Cotton, it is 
true, says of " these infamous wretches," that " their cruelty in various 
instances has been excessive,'' but he stands alone in this assertion, 
and neither he nor any one of Lord Belmore's numerous correspondents 
has specified one instance of the kind, or given the name of a single 
victim of their personal violence. All this, however, Sir Willoughby 
will doubtless explain hereafter, although there is one passage in his 
latest despatch, January 5, which manifests a precipitation and im- 
maturity of judgment that do not promise well for the interests of 
fairness and candour. He had then been only four days in St. 
James, to which he appears to have been before a perfect stranger, 
and during these he had been busily employed in the work of pursuing 
and slaying, in apprehending, trying, and executing Negroes, men 
and women. And yet he ventures, with only four days experience, thus 
to write to Lord Belmore : — " The fact is, the Negroes in this district 
have behaved infamously , nor is there the slightest palliation for their 
conduct. I have most minutely inquired into the treament, generally 
and particularly, and can aver it has been most kind." Now, on 
whose authority is it that this British officer ventures to make this 
solemn averment in a public despatch, while he fills a situation in 
which he should have stood as an impartial judge between the parties? 
What can Sir W. Cotton have known, in these four days, of the slavery 
that had existed in St. James, but from the information, possibly, of 
guilty, but most certainly of interested individuals? But we will not 
pursue this subject. We await Sir Willoughby's farther details, only 
remarking that he does not allude once, in any one of his letters, to 
the abstraction of the Christmas holiday. 

2. Much has been said of the very large and extensive destruction 
of property which has taken place ; but as this was subsequent to 
the occurrences of the 28th of December, the day on which we have 
proved that some Negroes of the disturbed parishes were deprived of 
the holiday which justly belonged to them, and were deemed and 
treated as rebels for daring to assert their right to it ; all is so vague 
and uncertain and even so contradictory, that we prefer waiting for 
farther advices before we enter upon its history. The whole number 
of properties of which any mention is made, in the whole of the des- 
patch, is sixty-four ; but it does not appear that more than fifty-three 
of these sustained any injury at all. Of those injured, about forty-five 
appear to have been sugar estates ; but the extent of injury is not 
specified. On some it is limited to the trash-house, a shed covered 
with shingles, and standing apart from any other building, where the 
dried stalks of the cane, reserved from the preceding year's crop, for 
fuel with which to commence the next year's boiling, is deposited. In 
only two or three cases is the burning of the works specifically men- 

Circumstances and Progress of the Insurrection. 105 

tioned, though the probability is, that majiy may have been destroyed. 
But what is more extraordinary is, that no allusion to the firing of cane 
pieces, on any one of the estates, is made in any one of the communica- 
tions; except that Sir Willoughby Cotton states it to have been, as 
he understood, the intention of the slaves not to fire the canes; and 
something to the same effect is said by Mr. Annand, in the single 
affidavit transmitted to this country. Under these uncertainties it 
would be vain to attempt any elucidation of the subject. One thing, 
indeed, appears certain, that the houses of the absent Negroes were 
set fire to, both by the King's troops and by the militia, an act 
of wanton barbarity, and of serious loss, both to masters and slaves, 
for which it is difficult to account. This example at least of useless 
vengeance ought to have been prevented, we think, by the British 
commander-in-chief. He speaks of the slaves, it is true, as " infamous 
wretches," who have acted " infamously " and whose conduct admits 
not of " the slightest palliation." But there was no good to be done 
by burning their houses. But what says Mr. Macdonald, the Gustos 
of Trelawney, writing at' the very same time, and whose testimony 
must be more worthy of attention than that of one who speaks from four 
days' knowledge of the parish ? His testimony is this, " I am happy to 
inform you, that every estate under my charge have continued faith- 
fully at their work and completely protected their masters' property, 
which is very gratifying to me. I do not wish to make any invidious 
remarks ; but if other gentlemen had acted with the same kindness 
and taken the same pains to explain the real nature of things, as I 
have done, I do not think that this unfortunate insurrection would 
have been so general, as in St. James in particular, their vengeance 
seems pointed against certain individuals." Mr. Macdonald, we pre- 
sume, had given his slaves their Christmas holidays ! 

This pointed testimony of the Custos, worth a thousand such testi- 
monies as that of Sir Willoughby Cotton, led us to examine more 
closely the statistics of all the disturbed estates mentioned in the 
Gazette ; and we found, as Ave had expected, that on almost everyone 
of them, there had been a regular and progressive decrease of the 
slave population from 1821 downwards, of one and two per cent, per 
annum, and in some still more. We reserve this list, with the par- 
ticulars of the actual decrease on each estate, for another occasion. 
But in the mean time the single fact of the general decrease, for 
which we vouch, of itself speaks volumes ; and may stand in contra- 
diction to Sir Willoughby Cotton's hasty conclusions, respecting 
slavery in St. James's. If his judicial sentences should prove equally 
hasty it will be but the more unfortunate, as respects the possibly 
guiltless, though " infamous wretches," men and women, whom his 
military j^a^ may condemn to die. 

3. But for the seriousness of the catastrophe over which we are 
called to mourn, and the numbers who have been slaughtered, and 
whom even Sir Willoughby Cotton says, he finds to hemore consider- 
able than he had imagined, no one could help being amused by the 
alteration in the tone and bearing of the same men in the months of 
July, and of December, 1831. In July all was bluster as we have 


106 Altered Tone of the White Inhabitants. 

seen, and menace and airosfant defiance. The heroes of St. James 
and Trelawney then gallantly led their wordy war, not against a few 
miserable, naked, and unarmed slaves (though servile insurrection 
flourished as a touching figure of speech throughout many a vehement 
and inflammatory harangue) ; but against the might and majesty of 
Great Britain. " We will rebel," said the planters ; " we will resist 
even unto blood," the vile attempts of the King's ministers, to pro- 
tect our slaves from the driver's lash. " We will renounce the King's 
allegiance" if he shall dare to prevent our negresses from having their 
flesh torn from their exposed limbs by the cart-whip. In all this they 
were, it is true, but practising on the fears and the credulity of the 
British public, while they wholly ovei'looked, in the blindness of their 
rage against Lord Goderich and Lord Howick, and the saints, all the 
nearer fires that were ready to burst beneath their feet, and which 
the very breath they were thus wasting was likely to kindle to a flame. 
War, war to the knife, with Great Britain, and with the troops of 
Great Britain, was then their mad cry, wholly unmindful of their own 
feeble means of resistance, and thinking only of the effect they might 
be able to produce on the apprehensions and the ignorance of 
British statesmen. 

But contemplate them in the December following. Even Colonel 
Grignon, who so doughtilyled thevan in this war of bluster and menace^ 
seems now alarmed almost at his own shadow. He and his brother 
magistrates, then so vaunting and so confident in their own prowess, 
now condescend to sue even for a single company of the King's troops 
to shield them from destruction. Let there be but even one " com- 
pany of the regulars :" it will " do away with the notion the slaves 
entertain, that the King's troops will not act against them." Let 
but the muzzles of the guns of one of the King's ships, even of the 
smallest class, be seen on our side at Falmouth or Montego bay, and 
we shall feel safe; our militia, they say, is "weak," our arms " gene- 
rally very inefficient ;" the balls and cartridges do not suit the 
bores of the rifles ; the cartridge paper is unserviceable ; the men are 
without clothes ; — only send us a few red coats, and let them appear 
willing to act for us, we shall then feel ourselves to be secure, but not 
otherwise. And yet these are the very men who, in loud and 
menacing tones had shortly before bid a bold defiance to the power of 
an Act of Parliament, backed by the military force of England^ 
Where would have been their boasting, what would have been their 
means of a single hour's resistance had that Act gone out ; and had 
Sir Willoughby Cotton been charged to support the Governor in 
carrying it into full effect. Resistance, forsooth, in such a case ! It 
is utterly ludicrous ! To speak of such a thing is the merest insanity ! 

4. But we must glance for one moment at the reviled and maligned 
missionaries. The despatches treat them, on the whole, with more 
moderation than we had ventured to hope. A Mr. Box,^ whom Mr. 
Gustos Macdonald, forgetting his office of justice of the peace, has 
chosen to condemn, previous not only to trial but even to accusation, 
as *' one of the incendiary preachers," implying that there were many 
such, had only escaped the arrest designed for him by the Gustos, by 

The Missionaries suspected of Inciting the Disturbance. 107 

having gone to attend a Missionary meeting at Kingston, in ignorance 
of any such design. He was, however, taken into custody there by 
the Governor's orders, without any other ground than the above vague 
imputation ; but the Governor had prudence enough to discover that 
this ground was insufficient, and he, therefore, takes credit for his hu- 
manity in not sending him back at once to Falmouth, and thus causing 
some delay " in hurrying him to trial" at a moment of so great ex- 

But let it not be supposed from this apparent moderation that such 
was the tone and temper either of the press or of the white population 
of Jamaica. 

The Cornwall Courier, of the 4th of January last, published at 
Falmouth, in Trelawney, scruples not to affirm "that the acts of re- 
bellion and incendiarism in Trelawney and St. James are occasioned" 
(not by the open resistance of the masters to the benevolent designs of 
the British Government, but) "by the slaves having been deceived and 
misguided by the Sectarians" (not by the angry invectives of Mr. Grig- 
non, or the harsh deeds of such declaimers as Mr. Frater ; but) by Bap- 
tist and Methodist missionaries " preaching rebellion to the slaves, 
and instilling it into their minds in the place of religion." " Doubt 
no longer exists," it is added, "as to the instigators of the rebellion." 
"Three Baptist missionaries, William Knibb, William Whitehouse, and 
Thomas Abbott, have just been forwarded, under an escort, to the 
head quarters at Montego Bay, where a military tribunal is sitting, 
and where five rebels were tried and shot yesterday." " Immediate 
steps should be taken to place the whole of the Sectarian preachers 
in the island, if not in close custody, at least under a most rigid sur- 
veillance : this is not a time for half measures ! " — And to the Courier 
of Falmouth responds in still fiercer tone the Courant of Kingston. 
" The Sectarian preachers have now the pleasing satisfaction of 
knowing that they have succeeded in rendering the fairest fields in 
Jamaica barren wastes, and have sent forth many of our most respect- 
able families houseless and without the means of existence. These 
indeed must be gratifying reflections to men who jjretend to preach 
and teach the mild and henign doctrine of our Saviour to our slaves, 
but Avhose souls are bent on the destruction of the fairest portion of 
the British empire ; and that merely" (we use the Editor's italics 
throughout) " because they are paid by the Anti-Slavery Society to 
hasten our ruin. They have progressed one step too fast, and we may 
perhaps be able to make their infamous conduct recoil upon them- 
selves. Three Baptist preachers are now in custody ; and as we are 
satisfied they would not have been taken into custody on slight 
grounds by Sir Willoughby Cotton, we hope he will award them fair 
and impartial justice. Shooting is however too honourable a death 
for men whose conduct has occasioned so much bloodshed and the 
loss of so much property. There are fine hanging woods in St. James 
and Trelawney, and we do sincerely hope that the bodies of all the 
Methodist preachers who may be convicted of sedition may diversify 
the scene. After this, our hostility even to men so reckless of blood, 
carnage, and slaughter shall cease." — This is mere raving in men who 

108 Feelings of Exasperation acjainst Missionaries. 

for the previous six months, had been filling their pages with direct 
provocations to insurrection on the part of the slaves, and is only 
what was to be expected from them. But when we see newspapers 
in this country joining in this senseless whoop, and affecting to believe 
that the missionaries have been in fault on this occasion, and con- 
demning them unheard, we do indeed wonder ; and we could have 
wished that that regard to mere justice, which their Editors affect to feel 
so sensitively on some occasions, had on this operated to arrest the pen. 
But the missionaries do not need our defence. Their own friends are 
fully equal to the task, and to them for the present, at least we leave 
it. But we must at the same time beg to suggest to all who adopt 
such senseless and unfounded calumny as their own, that they should 
inquire before they add to it the sanction of their authority. — Can 
they tell how far the lessons of the very men whom they are so prompt, 
on no tangible evidence to stigmatize, may have been the means, — 
though, through the hostility of the masters, they may not have pro- 
duced all the effect that could be wished on the minds of the slaves, — 
may have been the means by which the effects of the frantic clamours 
of the planters against the benevolent purposes of the Government 
may have been neutralized ; may have been the cause why we hear 
of no blood having been shed by the slaves ; why Samuel Sharp 
should have told Mr. Annand that he wished "to take no life;" 
and why, moreover, they should have resolved, as both Mr. Annand, 
and Sir Willoughby Cotton himself states to have been their declared 
purpose, not to set fire to the cane-pieces ? 

5. But we must turn to another topic. Lord Belmore says that 
" Sir Willoughby Cotton expresses his astonishment that I had not 
been made acquainted with the determination of the negroes not to 
work after New Year's Day without being made free." " This," says 
the General, " is most astonishing, as it would appear to have been 
known on almost all the estates that these were the serdiments of the 
negroes.''' How could Sir Willoughby have been so very weak and. 
credulous as to have believed this afterthought of the gentlemen of 
St. James and Trelawney ? Or how could Lord Belmore have given to 
it the slightest heed, as if it were founded on fact, in the face of all he 
himself has stated on the subject? When every idle rumour, every piece 
of parish gossip, seems to have been instantly conveyed to him by the 
worshipful custodes and magistrates of these two parishes, is it to be 
imagined that the communication of this fact, alone so much more 
important than all the rest, should have been withheld from him, if it 
had, as Sir Willoughby rashly asserts, been a matter notorious on all 
the estates ? Some one, doubtless, told him so, and he believed the 
fact. But what does Lord Belmore himself tell us in complete explo- 
sion of its authority ? He had addressed, some months since, letters 
of inquiry (circulars we presume) to the custodes of parishes, "from 
7ione of whom," he says, " did I receive unsatisfactory accounts, nor 
did any complaint reach me of insubordination amongst the slaves, or 
of any disposition to insurrection, although the members of Assembly, 
from all parts of the island, had only separated, on adjournment, on 
the eve of the insurrection." The adjournment was on the 16th of 

Issue of Royal Proclamatid7i and its effects. 109 

December. One of the Christinas holidays had not yet been insanely 
attempted to be taken from the slaves by any of the planters. 

This, indeed, is by far the most inexplicable part of the whole 
affair. On the 16th of December, and for six days after, all was 
tranquil. Not a whisper had been breathed from any quarter of the 
slightest insubordination ; and yet, on the 24th of December, Lord 
Belmore deems it right, by the advice, without doubt, of his official ad- 
viser, Mr. William Bullock, to issue with great solemnity, a proclama- 
tion of the King himself, which had been sent to him six months 
before, by Lord Goderich, to be issued only in a case of great emer- 
gency. This proclamation he takes this very occasion of peculiar 
quiet to issue ; and it naturally produced throughout the island that 
alarm, and distrust, and suspicion, between master and slave, which 
he had just been assured on the best evidence were at rest. 



Whereas it has been represented to Us, that the SLA VES in some 
ofOur WEST-INDIA Colonies, and of Our Possessions on the 
Continent of SOUTH AMERICA, have been erroneously led to 
believe, that Orders have been sent out by Us for their emancipation : 
And whereas such Belief has produced Acts of Insubordination, 
which have excited our highest displeasure : We have thought fit, 
by and with the advice of Our Privy Council, to issue this Our Royal 
Proclamation : And We do hereby declare and make known. That 
the Slave Population in our said Colonies and Possessions will forfeit 
all claim on our Protection if they shall fail to render entire submis- 
sion to the Laws, as well as dutiful obedience to their Masters : And 
We hereby charge and command all our Governors of Our said 
West-India Colonies and Possessions, to give the fullest publicity to 
this Our Proclamation, and to enforce, by all the legal Means in their 
power, the Punishment of those who may disturb the Tranquillity 
and Peace of Our said Colonies and Possessions. 

Given at our Court at Saint James, this Third Day of June, 
One thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, and in the Se- 
cond Year of Our Reign. 


Can any one wonder that such a proclamation as this, at such a 
time, actually asserting the existence of acts of insubordination, with- 
out specification of time or place ; acts too of such a very formidable 
nature, as to excite his " Majesty's highest displeasure," must have 
astounded, and did astound, both white and black. Where, it was 
anxiously inquired, is this dreadful rebellion raging, which has called 
forth so alarming an annunciation from the King himself, on the very 
eve of Christmas, disturbing the devotions of the sanctuary on that 
day, and poisoning the festive enjoyments which are to follow ? No 
one could answer the question to his own, or his neighbour's satisfac- 
tion. All was doubt and trepidation ; and the mind of the public 
was prepared for some direful events. 

Lord Belmore seems to be aware, that he is bound to give some 
good reason for this rash, unadvised, and most perilous publica- 

110 Grounds for issuing the Royal Proclamation. 

tion. He accordingly takes great pains to elaborate a reason for 
it, and the ingenuity of Mr. Bullock seems taxed to the utmost, to 
supply one, and yet to what a miserably lame and impotent conclu- 
sion does the whole lead ? 

The despatch sets out with preoccupying the mind, by a certain 
sort of portentous obscurity, which may serve to conceal the absolute 
littleness and insignificance, we may say nothingness, of the informa- 
tion which had led him thus to drag forward the sacred name of his 
Sovereign, to support assertions essentially untrue, and to tamper, by 
the force of His authority, with the peace and happiness of the people 
committed to his care. For what was the only information which 
had reached him, prior to his putting forth this apparently uncalled 
for publication ? " On the 22nd of December, it was," he says, 
" that I received any accounts to excite alarm," and this was a letter 
from a Colonel Lawson, a person who does not seem very deserving 
of confidence, if we may judge from other parts of this very despatch ; 
and we hesitate not to say, that no judicious man would have or- 
dered a dog to be whipped, much less a whole community to be 
frightened out of their wits, and out of their peace, by the idle 
statements of this Colonel. Lord Belmore, we know not why, has 
withheld the original letter thus received on the 22nd, on which the 
whole affair turns ; but loads his confused detail with a mass of par- 
ticulars which has no apparent connection with it ; and bearing a 
date subsequent to the issue of the proclamation, it could not, 
therefore, have influenced that proclamation. But the letter re- 
ceived on the 22nd, and which can alone form the justification of this 
proceeding, is not given. We have only Mr. Bullock's interpreta- 
tion, and that interpretation so clouded and obscured, by jumbling 
together events which we find, from the subsequent correspondence, 
to have been all transmitted to the Governor, from St. James and 
Trelawney, not earlier than the 25th of December, the day after the 
proclamation, and which therefore could not by any possibility have 
reached him till the 26th or 27th. But the matter is so important 
that we shall transcribe the whole of this part of Lord Belmoi'e's 
despatch of the 6th January, 1832. 

" It was not until Thursday, the 22d ult., that I received any ac- 
counts to excite alarm. The apprehensions which appeared to disturb 
the public* iXLind during the summer had nearly subsided. The 
planters complained of poverty and distress — the delegates sent forth 
an ambiguous declaration, deprecating (as they expressed themselves) 
' the insidious attempts to undermine and render valueless what little 
remains of their property ;' but the brink of danger on which they 
stood formed no part of their deliberations. 

" On the 22d of December, I received a despatch from Colonel 
Lawson, a magistrate, and commanding the Saint James's regiment of 
militia, dated the 20th, stating that, on the Friday preceding, he 
met the overseer of Salt Spring estate, who informed him, that on the 

* There is a convenient ambiguity in this expression. Lord Belmore doubt- 
less meant the ivhite mind, for that alone was disturbed in the summer. But 
Mr. Bullock has managed to leave the point in doubt. 

Official Despatch of Lord Belmore. Ill 

previous day the negroes had behaved with great insolence to Mr. 
Grignon, the attorney or chief manager of the estate ;* that two con- 
stables, who had been sent to convey the ringleaders to Montego Bay, 
had been assaulted and deprived of pistols, with which they were 
armed, as well as their mules, and that the negroes had expressed their 
determination not to work after New Year's-day. Mr. Grignon having 
repaired to Montego Bay, a special session of magistrates was assembled, 
when he and other persons employed on the estate gave information 
of the circumstances which had occurred, and of the riotous and dis- 
orderly state of the slaves ; in consequence of which, an order was 
issued by the magistrates to Major Coates, as the nearest field officer 
of militia, to send a detachment of the Saint James's regiment to Salt 
Spring estate, for the purpose of restoring order. Major Coates im- 
mediately communicated the directions he had received to Colonel 
Lawson, commanding the Saint James's regiment, and who, anxious 
to avoid the necessity of having recourse to the militia, and being for 
many years well known to the negroes of the estate, delayed the de- 
tachment from marching, and accompanied by Mr. Tharp, a neigh- 
bouring proprietor, proceeded to the estate, in the hope, by his in- 
fluence, to prevail on the negroes to return to their duty. He found 
the negroes assembled in groups about the buildings on the estate, 
and was informed that the senior book-keeper had suffered ill-treat- 
ment, and that his life had been threatened. He endeavoured to expos- 
tulate with the negroes, telling them he came as their friend, and 
asked them to listen to him ; they would not, however, suffer him to 
approach them, and walked off; and finding all his endeavours to 
restore order ineffectual, he left them. Soon after, a party of fifty 
men of the militia arrived, when almost every negro on the estate dis- 
appeared. The next day they began to return, and when Colonel 
Lawson wrote his despatch, the principal offenders only, amounting to 
six persons, were absent. This conduct of the negroes on Salt Spring 
estate, and information which the magistrates had received, that the 
negroes on other estates would not return to work after New- Year's- 
day, f induced the magistrates assembled at Montego Bay to forward 
a requisition to Major Pennefather, commanding the 22nd regiment 
at Falmouth, to order a detachment to march to that town, which 
Major Pennefather immediately complied with. On the following 
day I received an application from certain magistrates and inhabitants 
of the parish of Portland, desiring that a vessel of war might be 
ordered to Port Antonio, on account of some unpleasant rumours 
which had reached them of discontent amongst the slaves in that 

Now here we have the whole of the information on which the 

* Mr. Grignon seems every where. He began the clamour among the Whites 
in July. We find him nowat the bottom of the Black movement. Salt Spring estate 
is under his care ; it belongs to Mr. DefFell, of London, and had upon it in 1826, 
177 slaves, being a decrease of fifty-six from 1821, when there was upon it 233. 
This is a decrease of about 5 per cent, per annum ! 

t No man has ever lived in Jamaica without hearing precisely the same idle 
rumours, propagated by silly and timid people, on the return of every Christmas, 
for the last forty years. 

112 Conclusion. 

Governor professes to have acted on this occasion. And yet, to 
what does it amount? Colonel Lawson tells the governor of what 
he had heard from an overseer, who said the negroes had behaved 
insolently to Mr. Grignon. And can we not suppose a body of 
negroes so treated, (see note last page) as to be diminishing in 
number by eleven a-year over and above the births, to have complaints 
to make, which Mr. Grignon, their attorney, might construe into inso- 
lence ; and that, when in his displeasure he sent troops to punish this 
insolence, they should disappear ? Nothing can be a stronger proof, 
than that this affair amounted to nothing more than one of those plan- 
tation brawls, which generally end with a few cart-whippings, than 
this, that they almost all returned voluntarily to the estate, and were 
upon it when Colonel Lawson wrote his letter, dated on the 20th, 
which Lord Belmore received on the 22nd, But another most de- 
cisive proof, that we are right in our estimate of this affair, is this, 
that during the whole of the subsequent disturbances, the negroes of 
Salt Spring estate appear to have remained perfectly tranquil. Neither 
the estate nor the negroes are noticed in any way, after the date of 
the letter which reached Lord Belmore on the 22nd December ; nor 
does it appear that they took any part whatever in the tumult around 
them, or that they have injured the property of Mr. Deffell to the 
value of a single farthing. As for the letter from Portland, which is 
also suppressed along with that of Colonel Lawson, and which taken 
together constitute the whole motive for the issue of the King's pro- 
clamation, it is really unworthy of notice. — The burning of the trash 
houses on York was not known to Lord Belmore on the 24th, and 
probably was an accident, and not design. 

On such grounds, was this portentous paper published, exciting in- 
describable alarm and anxiety through every corner of this extensive 
island, and calling forth remonstrances in some of the public prints 
on the inutility of the proceeding, and the gratuitous mischief it was 
so well calculated to produce. Nothing more occurred till Christmas, 
of which we have already treated largely. 

Having brought this examination to a close, we call on the Govern- 
ment and the Parliament and the public to open their eyes to these 
statements — to think of the blood that has been causelessly shed, and 
of the misery that has resulted in a variety of ways from this unhappy 
event; and would urge upon them, again and again, the obligation it 
imposes to put a speedy termination to that crime of slavery which 
is the prolific source of these, and of multiplied evils besides. This 
country will not and cannot go on to tolerate such abominations, and 
to continue loaded with the guilt arising from them. Slavery must 



We have this moment heard that all the other Colonies have united, in the 
contumacious purpose of Jamaica, to resist the recommendations of Government, 
respecting the provisions contained in the Order of Council of the 3d of Nov., 
1831. If this be so, we trust it may lead, forthwith, to the only rational remedy 
for these bloody disorders; we mean one general Act of Parliament, extending 
to all the Colonies, which shall be far more effective than any measure which 
. has yet been contemplated. 

London:— S. Bagster, Jun., Printer, Bartholomew Close. 



No. 95.] APRIL 28, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 4. 


Missionaries; Treatment of Henry Williams. 





I. — Debate on the Sugae Duties. 

On the 23rd of March, a discussion of considerable interest took place in the 
House of Commons, upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer moving the order 
of the day for the House going into committee on the Sugar Duties Bill. On 
this occasion, Ministers, in defending their colonial policy from the attacks of the 
West India advocates, were led to give a statement of the measures pursued by 
themselves and their predecessors in office, from the adoption of the Parliamen- 
tary Resolutions of 1823 to the present period. The speech of Lord Howick 
may be considered as a sort of ministerial exposition of the policy and proceed- 
ings of His Majesty's Government in regard to the West India question gene- 
rally ; and on that account, a more full and accurate report of it than is to be 
found in the daily newspapers, appeared to us likely to be acceptable to our 
readers, and at all events worthy of preservation in the Anti-Slavery Reporter. 
Among the other speeches on this occasion, the reader's particular attention is 
requested to that of Mr. Buxton, in reply to the fifty times refuted statements of 
the West Indians, on the progress of colonial reform. 

Lord Althorp, in opening the debate, said, that it might be convenient for 
the House, if he made a few observations before they went into committee. He 
had been pressed by gentlemen connected with the West India interests, to de- 
clare specifically the nature of the measure of relief contemplated by Govern- 
ment. When pressed in the House to make a similar disclosure, he had stated 
that he did not think it advisable to do so at that time, or before he was able dis- 
tinctly to propose the adoption of the measures contemplated. He had since 
maturely considered this point, and he was but the more convinced that Minis- 
ters would not be acting consistently with their duty if they now stated specifi- 
cally what the measure of relief was to be. He was, however, prepared to repeat 
what he had before stated, that it would be a relief proffered to such of the West 
India colonies as shall have shewn themselves disposed to accede to the wishes 
of the Government; and, indeed, it must be evident to all, that, by only moving 
for the renewal of the sugar duties for the short period of six months, Ministers 
were quite willing still to leave the door open to discussion. But, besides the 
measure referred to, the House was of course perfectly aware, that in different 
parts of the West India colonies severe recent calamities had taken place, in- 
volving great destruction of property. He alluded to the hurricane in Barbadoes, 
and the insurrection in .Tamaica, which calamities had necessarily greatly aggra- 
vated the local suffering in those colonies. Looking at this distress. Ministers 


114 Debate on the Sugar Duties, — Mr. Burge. 

liad felt that it would be perfectly consistent with that sympathy which the mo- 
ther country ought to feel towards the colonies, to come forward with temporary 
relief, without affixing to that aid any portion of those conditions which he had 
alluded to in speaking of the other more permanent plan of relief. He was 
aware of the difficulty connected with such a proposition ; but he trusted that 
the extreme exigency of the case might form a sufficient justification for bringing 
it forward. He had, therefore, to state to the House, that it was the purpose of 
the Government to afford assistance to the sufferers under these two calamities 
by way of loan. The House had already agreed to assist with a grant of money 
the poorer class who liad suffered by the hurricane in the Leeward Islands ; but 
there were a great number of sufferers that did not belong to that class, and by 
whom security could be furnished for the amount of the assistance given by Go- 
vernment, who would take care that the securities were good, and that their claim 
should have the priority over others. These were the views and intentions of 
His Majesty's Ministers, which he hoped would shew that they sympathized with 
the colonists, who he trusted woidd in return display a kindly feeling to the mo- 
ther country, and a tendency to effect measures the accomplishment of which the 
Government and people of England had so much at heart. 

Mr. Burge said it was necessary for the colonists to know the nature and ex- 
tent of the general measure of relief alluded to by the noble lord, which was to 
be considered as a purchase for the surrender of their rights. It must be well 
known to His Majesty's Government that it was quite impossible for the colonies 
to accept relief under the humiliating conditions attached to the offer. The pro- 
ceedings adopted with regard to the West India islands had been as unexpected 
as they were unjust. Ministers, instead of modifying their opinions expressed 
when in opposition, by a sober practical standard, had hastened to put them into 
operation, to the risk of the most important interests. They had been only six 
months in office when the speech of the noble viscount, the under-secretary for the 
colonies, with a royal proclamation, arrived in the islands to create a most perilous 
excitement. Ministers had advanced all those principles and opinions which were 
calculated to produce the greatest mischief in the present state of colonial society. 
The hon. and learned gentleman proceeded to animadvert upon the Orders in 
Council, and said that the advisers of them seemed to doubt the wisdom of their 
own act, for they paused before they sent them to the Mauritius, although it was 
a crown colony, and he believed they were not sent there even yet. Lord Gode- 
rich, in a former period of his public services, had shewn himself deserving of 
the public confidence, and he (Mr. Burge) could hardly credit the fact that the 
circular despatch to which his lordship's name was affixed had in reality received 
his sanction. That despatch cast one indiscriminate censure on colonial society; 
and if he were called upon to exhibit proof of the total ignorance of Ministers as to 
the state of the colonies, of their unfitness to legislate for them, to that despatch he 
would refer. The Government had acted unfairly and precipitately towards the 
West India islands; and it was his decided conviction that the dreadful state of 
affairs in Jamaica had been produced by a delusion on the minds of the negroes 
that further measures with regard to them were contemplated. The hon. and 
learned gentleman reverted to events recorded in colonial history, in support of 
the views he had adopted on this point. With respect to the measure of con- 
ditional relief, he maintained that there never was an instance of such a propo- 
sition being brought forward by the Government of any country. Here were 
Ministers, knowing that distress existed, — knowing that they had the means 
of relieving this distress, — and yet they add, that this relief will be withheld, unless 
the colonists obeyed the legislation of Downing Street, — unless they fol- 
lowed verbatim et literatim the Orders in Council. They were for proposing 
a penalty for disobedience on persons, two-thirds of whom were not in a 
situation to obey the Orders in Council. What, he asked, would be the feeling 
among a great mass of the colonial population, when they found that, although 
ships of war were sent out, and an additional military force, to repress insurrec- 

Debate On the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 115 

tion, Ministers still persevered in that plan which had made such a powerful im- 
pression and created so much excitement when it was first announced. In Ja- 
maica, for an extent of forty or fifty miles, the country was a perfect waste, and 
the whole slave population was thrown out of employ. The loan which the 
Government was going to advance to the planters of Jamaica would be of little 
use, unless there was at the same time a policy adopted toward them which 
would restore that confidence among them which was necessary to induce them 
to set about replanting their lands. The same effects had not yet, indeed, 
been produced in the other islands which the world had unfortunately witnessed 
in Jamaica ; but similar discontent and disaffection were known to exist there, 
for the negro population in those islands partook of the same delusion by which 
the negro population of Jamaica had been misled. In some of the Colonies he 
was informed that in consequence of this circular of the British Government the 
slaves had refused to obey the orders of their masters. Instead of irritating these 
colonies, a wise Government would endeavour to win their affections by a course 
of judicious concession and conciliation. These colonies wished to continue united 
with Great Britain,- — their natural affections as well as their interests led them to 
desire British connexion. But were Government aware of the language in which, 
the rulers of other countries were addressing these colonies ? Had they seen, 
for instance, the language in which the United States spoke to them through the 
North American Review ? To conciliate them was therefore no less a matter of 
duty than of policy. If the Government continued to press upon them by harsh 
fiscal resolutions, it might produce their ruin : but when their ruin was eflfected, 
the merchants and manufacturers of England would find themselves deprived of 
one of their principal markets, and one of their main sources of wealth. De- 
prived of these colonies, England would be deprived of the main source of her 
strength, and her empire woul'd be contracted within the narrowest compass. He 
therefore could not agree to the House going into committee upon this occasion. 
If the noble lord had stated the nature of his measure of relief for the West In- 
dian planters, — if he had abstained from these proceedings at present, — if he had 
granted a committee of inquiry, in which all the relations of the colonies, and 
the state of society in them, could have been explained to the country, — if he 
had attended to the suggestions which had been made to him by the West Indian 
interest, suggestions which were founded on a just consideration, not only of what 
was due to tiie slave, but also of what was due to the master, — if such a course had 
been followed, he (Mr. Burge) should not have persisted in his opposition to this 
motion, as such a course would have restored that security to property, and that 
confidence to the planters, which did not exist at present, and without which the 
West India islands could not be prosperous. 

Lord Howick spoke as follows : — " It has not been without much pain 
that I have listened to the speech of the bon. and learned gentleman who 
has just sat down, convinced as I am that the satisfactory adjustment of the very 
difficult and embarrassing question which he has brought before the House, is 
daily becoming of more pressing importance, and that it cannot be deferred without 
the risk of great calamities, while it is impossible it can be eflfected unless there 
be a spirit of concession and forbearance, and a mutual good understanding be- 
tween all the parties concerned. Feeling, I say, this conviction, I do most deeply 
regret that an honourable and learned gendeman, who stands so high in the 
confidence of the Legislative Assembly of the principal of our colonies, should 
have so entirely misconceived the whole policy and views of the Government. 
But severe as his censures on that policy have been, aggravated as are the charges 
which he has brought against those who have been concerned in acting upon it, 
I still feel the most perfect confidence, that when the House comes fairly to con- 
sider what that policy really is, it will meet with its approbation. 

" Sir, I would beg the House to consider what was the position in which this 
question stood at the time when the present Government came into office. Every 
member of this House must be aware, that by the Resolutions of 1823, 

116 Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Hoivick. 

Parliament was most distinctly pledged to make every effort to promote the 
immediate mitigation, and to aim at the ultimate extinction of slavery. It must be 
equally well known that, acting upon the policy which had been recommended 
by Mr. Canning, and which had been sanctioned by all parties in this House, — 
successive Governments had, since the year 1823, introduced into the Crown 
colonies, which are under the legislative authority of His Majesty in Council — 
regulations which had produced a very marked effect in mitigating the condition 
of slavery, and which held out a prospect of its ultimate extinction. But as 
the hon. and learned gentleman has abstained from discussing the particular 
provisions of the different Orders in Council, I will follow his example; nor will 
I inquire whether or not they were carried to the length which the more ardent 
advocates of the abolition of slavery had a right to expect. Be this as it may, it 
is, at least, certain that, as far as they went, these regulations were greatly to the 
benefit of the slaves, and did not injure the masters ; and, unhappily, it is equally 
certain that, notwithstanding the success of the experiment which had thus been 
tried in the Crown colonies, the example which had been so strongly recom- 
mended to the colonies having legislatures of their own, had not been followed; 

" I will not at this moment attempt to contrast the laws passed for the pro- 
tection of the slaves, by the different colonies having independent legislatures, 
with the Order in Council which was passed for Trinidad in 1824, and which 
was the model proposed for their imitation. On a former occasion I was obliged 
to institute such a comparison, and I gladly avoid going over the same ground 
again. I think the hon. and learned gentleman will not dispute the fact, that 
no one of the colonies having legislative assemblies had earned the principles of 
that Order in Council into full effect, and that in some hardly anything had been 
done. What, then, was to be the conduct of the present Government when they 
came into office ? Notwithstanding the example which had been set them by all 
their predecessors, who had concurred in representing to the Assembly of Ja- 
maica the necessity of adopting the views of Parliament, and the unsatisfactory 
nature of the progress they had yet made, were the present Ministers to rest 
satisfied with this progress, and leave slavery in Jamaica in the condition in 
which they found it ? Sir, the respect due to the opinion of Parliament, as it 
was declared by the Resolutions of 1823, made it their duty not to give up the 
attempt to ameliorate the condition of the slaves ; and even if their sense of 
justice and humanity could have allowed them to entertain such a thought as that 
of abandoning this duty, the universal feeling amongst all ranks and all condi- 
tions of society would have rendered such a course impossible. Things could 
not, then, be allowed to remain where they were ; it was absolutely necessary 
that the wishes of Parliament should not be suffered to remain unheeded by the 
Colonial Legislatures. 

" Mr. Canning, in moving the resolutions to which the Government had to 
look as the rule of their conduct, had stated that the first course to be pursued 
was that of trying upon the Assemblies the language of remonstrance and exhor- 
tation ; but when the present Government came into office, this had already 
been done. During the eight years which had elapsed from the date of the 
Resolutions of 1823, a correspondence had been carried on of a nature, I regret 
to say, far from satisfactory, in which successive Secretaries of State had en- 
deavoured, with the utmost earnestness, to impress on the Legislatures of Jamai- 
ca, and of the other colonies, the necessity of adopting the views of Parliament. 
But the language of remonstrance and exhortation was tiow exhausted ; it was 
impossible to add anything, either to the weight or urgency of the expostulations 
which had already been made by the former Governments. This circumstance is 
so important, that I must take the liberty of troubling the House with a statement 
of the negotiations which had been carried on with the Assembly of Jamaica. 
I do so with reluctance, for there is nothing which I am more anxious to avoid 
than to say anything which can possibly give the slightest offence ; but after the 
speech of the hon. and learned gentleman, it is absolutely necessary that I 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Hoivick. 117 

should recal to the recollection of the House what had been the nature and the 
result of these negotiations. On the 28th of May, 1823, shortly after the Reso- 
lutions I have already more than once referred to had been adopted by the 
House, a circular was sent out by Lord Bathurst, announcing the fact of their 
having been so. This was succeeded by another on the 9th of July, in which 
the strongest possible exhortations were addressed to the Assembly of Jamaica, 
as well as to the Assemblies of other colonies. The conclusion of that despatch 
is couched in the following terms : — ■ 

" ' In conclusion, I have most earnestly to impress upon you the necessity of pro- 
ceeding to carry these improvements into effect, not only with all possible despatch, 
but in the spirit of perfect and cordial co-operation with the efforts of his Majesty's 
Government. More particularly you will be attentive to have the necessary laws 
framed with such precaution and foresight as, if possible, to provide an effectual 
security for the faithful observance of them . To this end you will consult with the 
legal advisers of the Crown on the frame of the necessary bills, and you will, from 
time to time, communicate with me upon the progress you make in this work, or 
upon the difficulties which may obstruct its completion, and if (what I am unwill- 
ing to imagine,) you should meet with serious opposition, you will lose no time in 
transmitting to me the necessary communication, in order that I may take the ear- 
liest opportunity of laying the matter before Parliament, and submitting for their 
consideration such measures as it may be fit to adopt in consequence.' 

" The manner in which this communication was received by the Assembly of 
Jamaica, will be best shewn by the following extract from a Report made by a 
Committee appointed to consider of the matter, — a Report which, I fear, still 
stands unrescinded upon their journals. The Report is dated 11th of December, 

1823, and runs thus : — 

" ' That your Committee observe, with surprise and regret, that bis Majesty's 
Ministers have, by the above resolutions, sanctioned the principles laid down by 
our enemies in the mother-country, and pledged themselves to enforce such mea- 
sures as shall tend, ultimately, to the final extinction of slavery in the British 

" Sir, it is, I think, deeply to be regretted, that the Legislative Assembly of 
Jamaica should have thus peremptorily refused to entertain even the notion of 
the ultimate extinction of slavery." — [Mr. Hume here said, " Read the latter 
part of the resolution of the Committee."] — " I have only an extract here ; but 
I believe that it contains the whole of the passage in question." — [Mr. Burge 
observed, " The Report contains something more, for in that very session im- 
portant measures were passed."] — " Sir, I have said that I have here only an 
extract from the Report ; but I leave it to the House to judge, whether any 
thing which precedes or follows the words I have read, can alter their sense. As 
to the measures which the hon. and learned gentleman says were adopted by the 
Assembly in the same session, I will, in imitation of his example, avoid going 
into any examination of their details. I am content to leave it to be decided by 
the hon. and learned gentleman himself, whether these measures approach even 
to those which were recommended to the Colonial Legislatures, and I will ven- 
ture to assert, that he will be unable to shew that any thing has been done which 
makes against the conclusion which I meant to draw from this extract, that a 
spirit has, from the first, been displayed by the Assembly of Jamaica, which, 
after nine years of fruitless exhortation and remonstrance, would have made a 
continuance in that course more than childish. 

" But, Sir, to resume the series of these negociations. On the 14th of July, 

1824, and on the 31st of July, 1825, Lord Bathurst again wrote, to exhort the 
colonies to adopt the views of the mother country ; and complained that the only 
measure that had been proposed in furtherance of those views, had been one for 
the admission of slave evidence, which had been lost, one person only voting for 
it. On the 18th of May, 182G, Lord Bathurst again wrote a circular despatcTi 
to the governors of the legislative colonies, and sent the drafts of eight separate 
bills, which he desired to have submitted to the Assemblies for their concurrence; 
a course which was treated (like that now adopted by the present Government) 

118 Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 

as an infringement of their privileges." — [Mr. Borge. " No!"] — "The learned 
gentleman says, ' no ;' but he must be aware that these bills were struck out of 
the orders of the day, by the legislatures of all but one or two of the smaller 
colonies; the consideration even of the bills so proposed being rejected as a 
breach of their privileges. On the 2nd of September, 1827, another despatch was 
addressed to the Governor of Jamaica, by Mr. Huskisson, now become Secretary, 
taking up the same views as Lord Bathurst, representing the unsatisfactory nature 
of the progress made by the Assembly, and complaining of the spirit which had 
been manifested. He disallowed, also, the Act which they had passed in De- 
cember, 1826, on account of certain clauses it contained contrary to the principles 
of toleration. In doing so, he further stated, in great detail, in how many re- 
spects this Act would have been far from satisfactory, even had the objectionable 
clauses been omitted. This fact it is of importance to remember, for the Act 
which was passed last year, and which the honourable and learned gentleman 
says ought to have induced the Government to abstain from the course which 
has been pursued, was the very same law, only without those clauses which have 
hitherto prevented its being allowed to come into operation, which Mr. Huskis- 
son had, six years before, declared would, even with this omission, have been 
altogether unsatisfactory. A long answer was drawn up by a Committee of the 
House of Assembly, to this despatch from Mr. Huskisson. To this he again re- 
plied, in a despatch dated the 22d of March, 1828. In that despatch, he ex- 
pressed his anxious desire that the reformation might be carried into effect by the 
Assembly itself, in whatever manner might be least inconvenient to the inhabitants 
of the colony ; but conveying an explicit warning, that a continued refusal on the 
part of the Assembly to act, would throw upon the Government and Parliament 
the necessity of acting for it. Sir George Murray afterwards became Secretary 
of State, and within a few months after his accession to oflfice, he wrote two cir- 
cular despatches, one dated the 3rd, and the other the 15th of September, 1828, 
in which he uses language not to be mistaken. In the last-mentioned despatch, 
he states that ' there are few circumstances which would occasion more regret to 
his Majesty's Government, than that the neglect of the colonists to exercise their 
right of legislature, should at length produce the necessity of a legislative inter- 
position from home. Such is the language of Sir George Murray, on the 15th 
September, 1828, more than two years before the present Government came into 
office. In April, 1830, upon the advice of that right honourable gentleman, the 
same Act, which had been brought under the consideration of Mr. Huskisson in 
1827, and had again been passed, was again disallowed. Sir George Murray 
adopting all the sentiments of his predecessor. 

" Such Sir, when the present Government came into office, had been the 
course of the negotiations which had been carried on with Jamaica ; and I ask 
whether it would have been satisfactory to the country, — whether it would not 
been derogatory to the honour of the Crown, and of Parliament, again to tender 
advice which had been so often, and so contemptuously rejected. But, Sir, there 
was a still stronger reason against persevering in an attempt, evidently futile, to 
obtain by mere remonstrance a compliance with the wishes of Parliament : such 
a course would have been that which, of all others, would have been the most 
injurious to the interests of the West Indian proprietors, and to which they 
would, with most reason, have a right to object. The whole of this correspon- 
dence had, from time to time, been laid before Parliament and the country, and 
the remonstrances which had failed to produce the desired effect upon the As- 
sembly of Jamaica had necessarily increased the general impatience of the public 
in this country, for the accomplishment of an object to which they attached so much 
importance. To have gone on, therefore, addressing exhortations and admoni- 
tions to the Assembly, when there was no longer a hope that such language 
would be attended to, would have been merely to increase the excitement and 
irritability which existed upon this subject at home. I am willing Sir, to make 
every allowance for the conduct of the Assembly of Jamaica, suffering as they 


Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howie k. 119 

and their constituents were under the severe pressure of distress, and irritated by 
the constant attacks of which they had been the object ; neither surprise nor any 
other feeling but one of regret is excited in my mind by this conduct ; but I say 
that it made it absolutely necessary (if for no other reason, with a view to the 
interest of the planters themselves) to take measures for putting an end to the 
controversy which was going on between the executive Government and the local 
Legislature. Nor, Sir, is this my opinion only, for I am sure I have heard my 
hon. friend, the member for Thetford, more than once declare that it was the 
duty of the Government to take the matter into its own hands, to come forward, 
with some specific plan, and propose some means for carrying it into execution. 
Sir, I think that my hon. friend is right, and that it is greatly to be lamented that, 
this course was not earlier adopted. It is only one among so many instances of 
that miserable and temporizing policy, to which so many of our present difficul- 
ties are to be attributed, which, never looking at dangers while still at a distance, 
— never seeking to deal with great questions while they can be easily and satis- 
factorily arranged, — merely attempts to get through, for the day and for the hour, 
the ordinary routine of business, with no other object than that of not increasing 
the pressure to which the Government is exposed, without considering the ulti- 
mate consequence of such ill-advised and impolitic delay. 

" Sir, this policy, which I think has been too long persevered in, could no 
longer be maintained ; and the present Government were necessarily compelled 
to choose between abandoning the object to which Parliament and the country 
stood pledged, by submitting to the resistance of the assemblies, or taking mea- 
sures by which that resistance might be overcome. I say that, if the Govern- 
ment could not rest satisfied with the progress which had been made in the 
amelioration of slavery, still less could it persist in mere idle remonstrances. It 
was absolutely necessary that some final step should be taken ; and, agreeing 
with Mr. Canning, that coercion ought to be had recourse to only in the last ex- 
tremity, the Government was anxious to avoid making an appeal to the direct 
legislative authority of the Imperial Parliament, and hoped that the obedience 
of the Colonial Legislatures would be secured by measures which would at once 
have the effect of manifesting the determination of this country not to recede 
from her just demands, and afl'ord the main inducement to yield, — holding out as 
the reward of compliance, the prospect of relief from that distress which the Go- 
vernment acknowledged and deplored. Acting upon these views, when the hon. 
member for Weymouth last year brought forward his motion, and it became ne- 
cessary to explain to the House and to the country what was the policy intended 
to be pursued on this subject, my noble friend moved, as an amendment, the Re- 
solutions, the effect of which would have been to pledge the House to afford ad- 
vantages, in the shape of a remission of duties to those colonies which should 
consent to adopt the recommendations of Government ; at the same time that 
an intimation was given, that an Order in Council would be drawn up, completing 
that which had been passed the year before, and which Sir George Murray had 
at the time expressly stated he had left imperfect, for want of further informa- 
tion. The unconditional adoption of the contemplated Order in Council would, 
it was announced, be the condition attached to the indulgence proposed to be 

" This course has been the subject of loud and vehement attack. It is said, 
that the imposition of discriminating duties is only a mode of evading the pri- 
vileges of the Colonial Legislatures. The learned gentleman who has just sat 
down, not a little to my astonishment, asked whether any Government had ever 
thought of adopting such a course, and stated that in not one of Mr. Canning's 
speeches, was it intimated that it was desirable to do any thing, except through 
the Colonial Legislatures themselves. No doubt Mr. Canning thought it desir- 
able, as every man must, that the wished-for reformation should be the work of 
the Colonial Legislatures themselves ; but I deny that he did not, in case of ne- 
cessity, contemplate taking a different course. We have heard much of the effect 

l20 Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 

produced in the colonies, by the debates upon this subject, and I should have 
thought that the speech of Mr. Canning, in moving the resolutions of 1823, 
would have been eagerly read in Jamaica, but I am surprised to find that this 
cannot have been the case. No accurate report of what passed on that occasion 
can have reached the colony, or surely the hon. and learned member, who must 
have been there at the time, would not have forgotten what Mr. Canning said, in 
the splendid and masterly speech with which he introduced his amendment to 
the motion of the hon. member for Weymouth. The right hon, gentleman 
said : — ■ 

" ' We have a right to expect from the Colonial Legislatures, a full and fair co- 
operation. And being as much averse by habit, as I am at this moment precluded by 
duty, from mooting imaginary points, and looking to the solution of extreme, though 
not impossible questions, I must add, that any resistance which might be manir 
fested to the express and declared wishes of Parliament, — any resistance I mean, 
which should partake not of reason, but of contumacy, would create a case (a case, 
however, which I sincerely trust, will never occur) upon which his Majesty's Go- 
vernment would not hesitate to come down to Parliament in council.' 

*' Sir, I think it is sufficiently clear from this, that Mr. Canning contemplated 
other measures, in case of resistance on the part of the Colonial Legislatures. 
But on the 16th of March 1824, his language was still stronger : he says — 

" ' There are three possible modes in which Parliament might deal with the peo- 
ple of Jamaica ; — first, as I have said, it might crush them by the application of di- 
rect force ; — secondly, it might harass them by fiscal regulations and enactments, 
restraining their navigation ; — and, thirdly, it may pursue the slow and silent course 
of temperate, but authoritative admonition. Now, Mr. Speaker, if I am asked what 
course I would advise, I am for first trying that which I have last mentioned ; I 
trust we shall never be driven to the second ; and with respect to the first, I will 
only now say, that no feeling of wounded pride — no motive of questionable expedi- 
ency — nothing short of real and demonstrable necessity, shall induce me to moot the 
awful question of the transcendental power of Parliament over every dependency of 
the British Crown.' 

*' Such, Sir, was the language of Mr. Canning in 1824 ; in 1826 he proposed 
that the Resolutions which had been agreed to three years previously by this House, 
should be sent up to the Lords for their concurrence. I will read to the House 
a part of the speech he made on that occasion. He said — 

" ' He would not, however, deny but that from the spirit which the colonies had 
already displayed on this subject, it was more than probable the time might arrive 
when it would be necessary for that House to interfere more directly. 

" ' He was desirous of giving to the Colonial Legislatures another chance of 
bringing about, by their own agency, all that the British Parliament wished, with- 
out the disturbance of the established system, or the agitation of the question, from 
which, though he should not hesitate to enter into it when the occasion demanded, 
considerable difficulties, which he wished, if possible, to avoid, would of necessity 
ensue when it was once mooted. He would give them space and respite for a fur- 
ther trial. He agreed with the hon. member for Westminster, that after the time of 
that space and respite had expired, the period might come when it would be the 
duty of the Parliament to take the matter out of the hands of the Colonial Legisla- 
tures, and when it would be the duty of Government to come forward and ask Par- 
liament for those additional powers it would be requisite to use for the accomplish- 
ment of those objects which the Colonial Assemblies had refused to effect by their 
own exertions.' 

" Here then, we have a clear exposition of the views entertained upon this sub- 
ject by Mr. Canning, and by the Government of which he was the organ. He 
would have us first try exhortation, then fiscal regulation, and, lastly, direct le- 
gislation ; and, so long ago as the year 1826, he considered that the first had 
almost failed ; his forbearance was already nearly exhausted, and he was desirous 
of giving to the colonies only ' space and respite for one further trial.' To warn 
the local legislatures how nearly the season of indulgence had expired, — to con- 
vey to them the clearest intimation of the determination of Parliament, he, in 
this year, made a motion to send the Resolutions of 1823 up to the House of 
Lords for their concurrence. Is it possible to deny, then, that the conduct of 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 121 

the present Government has been the most lenient which, consistently with its 
duties, it could adopt ? Exhortation having failed, the principle of the course 
recommended by my noble friend in the Resolutions he moved last year, is dis- 
tinctly pointed out by Mr. Canning, in his advice to harass the colonies by fiscal 
regulations and enactments, restraining their navigation. The hon, and learned 
gentleman cheers me ; he means, I presume, that I am wrong in saying that 
there is an exact agreement between the course proposed by my noble friend, and 
that which was recommended by Mr. Canning. Sir, the hon. and learned gen- 
tleman is right ; there is a distinction between them, and it is this, — Mr. Can- 
ning held out a threat to the disobedient ; my noble friend a promise of reward 
to the obedient. My noble friend does not threaten to stop up the ports of the 
contumacious colonies, to harass their trade, and compel them, by dire necessity, 
to give way ; but he says, on the contrary, * We will not, in the first instance, at 
least, adopt any measure to punish and coerce those which resist, but we will 
promise to those which yield to our just and reasonable demand, such assistance 
and relief as it is in our power to bestow.' I say, then, that the distinction in 
point of leniency is not in favour of Mr. Canning's Administration, but in favour 
of the Government of 1831. But, if I am not mistaken, something more was 
implied by the cheer of the right hon. gentlenran opposite (Mr. Goulburn). He 
meant to imply that Mr. Canning always proposed to come down to Parliament, 
and that we have acted without that authority. But a moment's reflection must 
have shewn the right hon. gentleman that this is not, in fact, the case, and must 
have led him to perceive the obvious reasons for the course the Government has 

" The Resolutions moved by my noble friend last year were not formally as- 
sented to; but there could not be the slightest doubt in the mind of any hon. 
gentleman, that, upon a division they wmdd have been carried ; and the only 
reason why they were not so was, that the hon. member for Preston, as usual, 
moved an adjournment of the House, and a few days afterwards Parliament was 
dissolved. They were not again brought forward for this simple reason, — that 
there could not be a rational doubt on the mind of any man of what were the 
sentiments of Parliament and of the country ; and it was thought most desirable, 
from the danger of these discussions in this House, to avoid unnecessarily agita- 
ting the question. It was their anxiety not to bring on such a debate which in- 
duced the Government not to ask for the mere formal expression of an opinion 
which could not be doubled, to postpone coming to Parliament until acting upon 
that opinion, its concurrence in the measures to be adopted was actually to be 
required. It was not, however, in disguise or concealment that they took their 
course ; for after the debate in April last, not a day was lost in collecting the 
materials for the Order in Council alluded to by my noble friend. 

" The right hon, and gallant gentleman, the late Secretary of State for the 
Colonial Department, in the despatch which accompanied the former Order in 
Council, had stated to the governors of the different colonies, that certain points 
were omitted in it on which he was not then prepared to legislate, but to which it 
was intended to revert at a future opportunity. Now all must agree that, if we 
were to make a specific offer to the Assemblies at all, it was most desirable that 
the whole plan with which it was connected should be laid before them altoge- 
ther. For this reason, a new Order in Council was drawn up to supply the 
omissions of the former. The draft was printed and transmitted to the hon, and 
learned gentleman opposite, to the agents of the different colonies, and to all 
who were thought particularly interested in the subject ; they were at the same 
time invited to make any objections or remarks, which they thought could be of 
service, and contribute to render the Order in Council as complete and perfect as 
possible. They accepted the invitation; remarks were sent in, which were care- 
fully considered ; and considerable alterations were in consequence made in the 
original draft. The Order in Council, so framed, was transmitted to the Crown 
colonies in the first instance, and afterwards to the Legislative colonies, in a cir- 

122 Delate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 

culav despatch, in wliich Lord Godoi'ich explained the intentions of the Govern^ 
ment, and stated his extreme anxiety that the Colonial Legislature should under- 
stand tiiat the only object of the Government was to promote the true interest of 
all parties, and should be convinced that this course was not adopted in a spirit 
of hostility towards the colonies ; but, on the conti-ai-y, in a sincere belief that it 
was absolutely necessary for their own safety, tliat some decided step should at 
length be taken. 

" But I am going a little out of the line of argument I mean to pursue. The 
hon. and learned gentleman has stated it as the gj^avamen of the charge against 
the Government, that the Order in Council was required to be adopted without 
alteration or amendment. The hon. and learned gentleman, in making that 
charge, had not, I think, exactly considered what other course it was possible to 
pursue. When certain advantages are to be granted or withheld according to 
the compliance of a party, with particular conditions, is it not indispensably ne- 
cessaiy that those conditions should be precise and definite ? We all know, from 
daily experience in this country, that by some unexpected construction of the 
expressions made use of, and by verbal inaccuracies, the intended objects of Acts 
of Parliament are not unfrequently, in a great measure, defeated. Could the 
Government, then, leave the framing of Acts, upon the wording of which their 
whole efhciency must depend, to legislatures which were not anxious to accom- 
plish the objects they were intended to promote, and which only yielded a reluc- 
tant assent in the hope of participating in the advantages which were conditional 
upon their doing so ? If the task of framing the Acts had been committed to tlie 
Colonial Legislatures, how, let me ask, would it have been possible for the 
Government to say, that any one colony was or was not entitled to the advan- 
tages held out to those, which consented to the adoption of the measures recom- 
mended to them ? Is it so easy to pronounce, positively, how far any given law 
caiTies into effect its professed object? W^e know that the agents of the West 
Indian colonies circulated last year an abstract of the laws passed by the differ- 
ent local Legislatures, intended to shew that the Assemblies had, in many par- 
ticulars, adopted the suggestions made to them ; whilst, on the other hand, the 
Aiiti-Slaveji/ Repo7-te?', if I may be permitted to allude to it, entered into a long- 
argument to shew that the supposed compliances with those suggestions had been 
perfectly nugatory. I do not say which was right or which was wrong, but I 
state the foct to shew how great a difference of opinion may exist as to the effect 
of a law, and to prove the utter impossibility of the Government undertaking to 
decide between the opposite constructions put by different parties upon the Acts 
passed by so many separate legislatures. 

" I should not trouble the House with any further vindication of the course 
taken by the Government subsequent to the debate of April last, or with any 
further reference to that debate, had not the hon. and learned gentleman brought 
a charge against the Government, which I think it absolutely necessary to answer. 
He has said, that what [massed on that occasion was die direct and exciting cause 
of those calamities in Jamaica which we have now to deplore ; and, in proof of 
that assertion, he states, that as soon as my speech arrived in the West Indies, it 
became necessary to issue a proclamation, in order to undeceive the negroes as 
to what was intended to be done. Now, what was the fact ? I will not venture 
to assert that in my manner of speaking last year (though I totally deny having- 
entertained the slightest feeling of bitterness or animosity against the gentlemen 
connected with the West Indies) there may not have been, too great an appear- 
ance of warmth ; if so — if there was anything in my speech which could be thought 
by any hon. gentleman intemperate, or calculated to give offence, I can assure 
him that it was not so intended ; having had no great experience in debate, and 
that little on the benches opposite, that it is possible, in answering a speech to 
w'hich I totally dissented, I may have adopted too much of the tone and manner 
of a disputant, I will not deny; but I do most positively deny, that in conse- 
quence of diat speech, it became necessary to issue the proclamation in question. 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 123 

That proclamation was sent out at the instance of the hen. and learned gentle- 
man opposite, of the agent for St. Vincent, and others interested in the West 
Indian colonies, not in consequence of what passed in this House in April last, 
but in consequence of what passed in the same month in the island of Antigua. 
It was impossible tbat the debate on the intentions of the Government could have 
been surmised in the West Indies in April ; but some slight disturbances having 
occurred in Antigua in that month, and reports having reached this country that 
an erroneous impression had been created in the minds of the slaves, the pro- 
clamation alluded to was drawn up and sent out by Lord Goderich, with a cir- 
cular despatch, dated the 3d of June (more than two months after the debate,) 
in which the different governors were directed to issue the proclamation, in case 
of its being found necessary to do so. Lord Belmore's answer to this despatch is 
dated the 20th of July, and is among the papers which are now printing, and 
which I am sorry are not in the hands of hon. members. Lord Belmore, in this 
communication, informs Lord Goderich that the appearance of tranquillity among 
the slave population was such, that he had not thought it necessary to publish 
the proclamation ; and he then adds the following observations : — 

" ' Accounts in the public papers will inform your Lordship of various parochial 
meetings which have already assembled, and the resolutions they have adopted. 
The transactions certainly m.amfest considerable excitement and alarm ; but, in my 
apprehension, are more calculated to disturb the minds of the slaves than any re- 
port they may casually have heard of something being intended for their benefit, 
which their owners endeavour to withhold from them. My own opinion of the 
slave population is, that, collectively, they are sound and well-disposed.' 

"This, the House will observe, was written full two months after the speech, 
which it is said did all the mischief, had arrived in Jamaica. But, although 
Lord Belmore did not think it necessary to issue the proclamation, he thought it 
right, in consequence of Lord Goderich's communication, to put the magistrates 
of the different parishes upon their guard. I am sure that the hon. and learned 
gentleman must have observed the two circulars written by Mr. Bullock, by 
Lord Belmore's direction, to the custodes of the different parishes. In the first 
of these letters he tells them, that Lord Goderich * had disclaimed, in the most 
distinct manner, any intention on the part of his Majesty's Government to adopt 
any measure wbich might have the effect of interfering with the spirit of the 
Resolutions of the House of Commons of 1823, relative to the ultimate extinction 
of slavery in his Majesty's colonies.' Further on, Mr. Bullock expresses a hope 
* that this explicit declaration of his Majesty's Government will remove any alarm 
or apprehension which some of the parochial resolutions 7nay have excited in the 
winds of the community at large ; and Mr. Bullock concludes, by requesting the 
custodes to give the greatest publicity to this communication. The hon. and 
learned gentleman will find this letter in the correspondence published in the 
Gazette, and he will see that the concluding sentence was intended to warn the 
planters of the danger of the course which they were pursuing, and to point out 
to them that mischief was to be apprehended, not so much from the debate which 
had taken place in this House, as from the intemperate resolutions come to by 
the colonists themselves. 

"The second circular to which I have referred, and which is also in the Ga- 
zette, is dated a few days after the former, on the 30th of July : it is marked 
confidential, and is addressed, like the former, to the custodes. In this letter, 
Mr. Bullock desires 'the earhest information of any circumstance which might 
arise to require the adoption of further measures, in order to remove any erro- 
neous impression which the slaves might have received of the designs of his 
Majesty's Government;' and observes, 'that vigilance is more necessary, wlien 
discussions had taken place which were liable to misconstruction or misrepresen- 
tation.' This was six months before the insurrection broke out. On the 4th of 
Augxist, Lord Belmore wrote word, ' that nothing had occurred to manifest the 
least uneasiness or excitement among the slaves.' Afterwards, on the 6tli of 

124 Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 

September, Lord Belmore transmitted home various resolutions of the parochial 
meetings, — terms them ' violent and intemperate,' and observes, that committees 
had been appointed in some parishes to correspond with other districts, and had 
nominated delegates. In a private letter, of the 21st of November, Lord Bel- 
more gives a similar account ; and I am sure the Hon. and Learned Gentleman's 
attention must have been attracted to the despatch of Lord Belmore, dated the 
6th of January, printed in the Gazette, in which he observes — 

" ' The delegates had sent forth an ambiguous declaration deprecating, as they ex- 
pressed themselves, the insidious attempts to undermine and render valueless vs^hat 
little remains of their property ; but the brink of danger on which they stood, 
formed no part of their deliberations.' 

In fact, the planters did not see their real danger. There seemed to have been 
two notions in the minds of the slaves, which may be looked upon as the proxi- 
mate causes of the insurrection : first, that the Government had sent out their 
freedom, which their masters withheld from them; and, next, tliat if they at- 
tempted to gain it by force, the King's naval force and regular troops would not 
act against them. The overseer, who was in the power of the slaves, states in 
his deposition, that some of the ringleaders asserted that the King's ships were 
landing gunpowder, or black dust as they called it, to help the slaves in their 
resistance. I will not trouble the House with reading the resolutions of the 
planters which gave rise to these notions among the slaves. — [Mr. Burge here 
said, " They have not been printed."] — They were printed in every newspaper in 
the colony and in this country ; and they were certainly calculated to create pre- 
cisely that false impression upon the minds of the slaves, which it is agreed pro- 
duced the catastrophe. But, Sir, I will not read these resolutions, as the hon. 
and learned gentleman objects : indeed, it is better that the violent language 
which has been used should be forgotten. Nor did 1 mean to quote what passed 
at the parish meetings in Jamaica during the last summer and autumn, to reproach 
the planters ; they were, perhaps, not unnaturally excited by the distress they 
suffered and the attacks to which they were exposed ; but I meant to shew the 
danger occasioned by their giving way to their feelings, and by allowing an im- 
pression to be made on the minds of the slaves, that a serious difference existed 
between their masters and the Government. 

" Sir, I think what I have now said sufficiently proves that it is not to the 
policy pursued by the Government that the insurrection of the slaves in Jamaica 
is to be attributed ; but I have a still stronger and most satisfactory proof to 
adduce, that the tendency of that policy, when fully acted upon, is to avert, not 
to produce disturbance. During the last autumn notions similar to those which 
have led to such a melancholy catastrophe in Jamaica, obtained admittance into 
the minds of the slaves in British Guiana ; but, instead of leading to a similar 
result, the Governor was apprised of the fact by the slave protectors — in whom 
the negroes know that they can confide — and was enabled to take measures to 
avert the threatened mischief. Sir B. D'Urban not being kept in the same state 
of ignorance as Lord Belmore, was able to take the steps which were necessary 
to correct the false impression which had got abroad. He made a tour through 
the colony, — had the most intelligent slaves of every gang brought before him at 
particular places, — talked with them, and told them that if they attempted any- 
thing like disturbance, the result would be great suffering to themselves, and per- 
haps the defeat of the measures the Government intended for their benefit. What 
was the consequence ? Why, that the Governor in his last despatches says, that he 
never knew a Christmas pass off with greater gaiety and good humour. So that 
on that fatal Wednesday morning, when so large a portion of the most fertile 
district in Jamaica was laid waste with fire, the slaves in Guiana were enjoying 
their holidays with the greatest good humour and gaiety. I think that this fact 
is conclusive as to the wisdom and soundness of the policy pursued by his Ma- 
jesty's Government in the Crown colonies. But it is not a solitary instance. 
. " In Trinidad something of the same nature took place. On two estates there 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Lord Howick. 125 

were a number of slaves who had been imported from Tortola ten years before, 
as they said, under a promise of being set free in seven years. That time having 
long expired, they resolved to work no more, and some of them had actually 
gone into the woods. On Sir L. Grant being apprized of what was going on, 
he went to the disturbed district, and settled everything quietly, by explaining to 
the slaves, that if they had a right to their freedom, this was not the way to claim 
it, and persuading them to send deputies to bring their case before the protector, 
in order that it might be tried before the regular tribunal. In St. Lucia, on the 
arrival of the Order in Council, the most violent and intemperate measures were 
adopted by the planters, and although, in consequence of the death of the Go- 
vernor, the administration of affairs was in the hands of the senior military 
officer, who was twice changed in the midst of these transactions, nothing like an 
insurrection took place. 

" Sir, I contend that, in the instances I have adduced, the House has the 
clearest and most decisive proofs of the beneficial tendency of the policy pursued 
by the Government. That policy is calculated to effect a gradual, easy, and safe 
transition from a state of slavery to a state of freedom. And, Sir, I do most 
sincerely hope that the lesson which is oflTered in the catastrophe which has oc- 
curred in one place, and the escape of three other colonies from similar calami- 
ties, will not be lost upon the proprietors and planters of Jamaica. I trust they 
will be convinced, not only that his Majesty's Ministers, in the policy that they 
recommend, are doing that which they believe to be for their interest, but also 
that they are correct in that belief. I most earnestly hope that all interested in 
West Indian property will calmly reflect upon the present position of this ques- 
tion. Let them bear in mind that it is only too true what they have themselves 
so often asserted, that the discussions upon this subject are full of danger-— that 
we are standing upon the brink of a frightful precipice, and that we ought, there- 
fore, well to consider what ought to be our conduct in order to extricate ourselves 
from so perilous a position. 

" I am sure the hon. and learned gentleman need not be told, that there is in 
this country a large and powerful party, who entertain a sincere and conscientious 
belief, that it is a sacred duty imposed upon them, to endeavour by every means 
in their power to effect the overthrow of the system of slavery in the West Indies, 
the continuance of which, even for a single day, entails, in their opinion, such 
deep moral guilt upon all who even passively contribute to its support. He must 
be equally well aware, that of those who are not prepared to adopt (which I cer- 
tainly am not) these extreme opinions, and the violent measures supported by 
the hon. member for Weymouth, the immense majority of all ranks and condi- 
tions of society, only tolerate the temporary continuance of slavery, because they 
believe that by a more cautious and temperate course of proceeding, the same 
end may be accomplished, and a great and acknowledged evil be got rid of, with 
a less amount of human suffering than might be occasioned by immediate and 
sudden emancipation. Such, Sir, is the recorded opinion of Parliament, upon 
which honourable members have regulated their conduct, and which they have 
endeavoured to carry into effect with a view not less to the real interest of the 
proprietors in the colonies, than to that of the slaves themselves. 

" Sir, when we consider the opinions universally entertained, — when we re- 
member that almost every Englishman will declare, that we are bound to effect 
either the gradual, or the immediate abolition of slavery — let me ask, how can 
that sudden and violent change, from which, like the honourable and learned 
gentleman, I should anticipate so much mischief, be averted, except by satisfying 
the public mind, that a real improvement is taking place in the condition of the 
slaves ? This, Sir, is the only mode in which those discussions, which we must 
all think so dangerous, can be prevented. And here, I cannot but call upon the 
House to remember, that during the discussions upon the Abolition of the Slave 
Trade, it used constantly to be said that the debates in Parliament were calcu- 
lated to disturb the minds of the slaves, and excite them to insurrection : if so 

126 Debate on the Su[/ar Duties. — Lord Howick. 

— if such an effect could be produced, when so large a proportion of the slave 
population consisted of ignorant savages, recently imported from the coast of 
Africa, — what must be the effect of the discussions of the present day ? The 
slave trade has now been abolished for the last twenty-five years in the British 
colonies. Since that period, a race of slaves has grown up in our colonies, ac- 
quainted with our language, some of them converted to our religious faith, and, 
with that faith, with tlieir increasing intelligence, they have necessarily acquired 
a sense of their degraded condition, and an anxious desire for its improvement. 
These feelings are, of course, fostered by their connexion with the class of free 
persons daily becoming more numerous, who have emerged from the same state 
of slavery. But these discussions are more dangerous than formerly, not only 
from the alteration which has taken place in the character of the slave popula- 
tion, but also in consequence of their being brought much more immediately 
within the reach and hearing of the controversy. We must not only calculate the 
difference between the savage African and the Creole slave who speaks perhaps 
our language, but we must also take into the account the increased attention 
which the controversy is likely to attract, now that it is carried on, not at the 
other side of the Atlantic, but in the colonies themselves. Formerly in the colo- 
nies, at least, the discussions on this subject were all on one side, and no one 
dreamt of breathing a word in favour of emancipation ; indeed, any one who 
stood forward as the advocate of the slave, would have been overwhelmed on all 
sides. But what is the case now ? A large and influential class of free persons 
has grown up in the colonies, whose religious opinions induce them to adopt the 
notions on slavery of the hon. member for Weymouth. Among the conductors 
of the colonial press, powerful advocates of these opinions are not wanting. 
There is now a newspaper published in the town of Kingston, in Jamaica, con- 
ducted, undoubtedly, with considerable talent and ability ; but, at the same time, 
I am sorry to say, with by no means equal temper or moderation. I do not blame 
the editors of this paper for the spirit in which it is written ; with the example 
which is set by their opponents of still greater violence, it is not to be expected that 
they should abstain from strong language; I mention it not to censure or impute 
improper motives to any one, but as a fact too important to be lost sight of, — that 
the controversy relative to the abolition of slavery is now raging with yet greater 
violence in Jamaica than it is at home. The Watchman on the one side, and the Ja- 
maica Courant on the other, urge, in the strongest language, the extreme doctrines 
of either party.* That such a dispute, so maintained, must produce a powerful 
effect on the minds of the slaves, and that it must make the existing state of 
things one full of danger, it is impossible to doubt. It becomes, then, urgently 
and vitally important to determine by what course the fatal catastrophe which 
this state of things threatens can be avoided. After the most mature deliberation 
of the subject, it appeared to the Government that the only course left open is, 
steadily, temperately, but, at the same time, with firmness and determination, to 
enforce a full compliance with the Resolutions of 1823. This is the course which 
the present Government have pursued — this is the course which I trust that 
Parliament will continue to support; and, however much we have hitherto 
been disappointed, this course I also trust the Legislature of Jamaica will at 
length be prevailed upon to adopt. They have admitted the free people of colour 
to the enjoyment of civil rights, and I trust that the same feeling which induced 
them to yield in this instance will induce them to abandon their opposition to 
the measures recommended by the Parliament and the Government. In putting 
an end to the distinctions of colour, they have evinced a liberality which, when 

^ We regret to see Lord Howick do such great injustice to the Jamaica Watchmayi 
as for a moment to compare it for violence of language to the Courant, Upon the 
Slave Question, at least, the Watchman has been remarkably cautious and tem- 
perate, whilst the Courant, on the contrary, has taken the lead- of all the colonial 
Pro-Slavery papers in outrageous, disloyal, and bloodthirsty violence. 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Mr. Gordon. — Mr. -Hume. 127 

we consider how powerfully the minds of men are affected by long-cherished 
prejudices, cannot be praised too highly ; and I trust that an equal liberality will 
soon be exhibited by them, in the far more dangerous and difficult question of 
slavery. I hope that the decision of Government, to come forward to afford 
assistance to the sufferers by the insurrection and by the hurricane, in the manner 
which my Noble Friend has stated, not coupled with any conditions, will be 
accepted by the colonists as a proof that no ill-will or animosity has been excited 
towards them by their long resistance to the measures which they have been 
urged to adopt; but that, on the contrary, the House and the Government sym- 
pathise in their distress, and can pity their misfortunes : and I also hope, that by 
attaching the proposed conditions to the general measure of relief which is to be 
brought forward, Parliament will manifest that resolute adherence to its declared 
purpose of effecting a real improvement in the condition of the slaves, which is, 
I believe, no less necessary than a conciliatory spirit, for the satisfactory settle- 
ment of the question. 

" Before 1 sit down, I must express my regret, that in the course of what I 
have had to say, I have been under the necessity of making some observations 
implying censure of the past conduct of the Colonial Legislatures, and of stating 
truths which, I fear, will not be agreeable to those interested in the West India 
colonies. I have been induced to do this only by my conviction that, in the pre- 
sent critical situation of their affairs, it is the first duty of one sincerely anxious 
for the welfare of these colonies, frankly and candidly to point out to them the 
errors which have been committed, and the dangers by which they are, in conse- 
quence, surrounded. I hope, therefore, that what I have said will be received as 
it was intended, and that where no offence was meant, no offence will be taken." 

Mr. Robert Gordon, in a short speech, deprecated the introduction of topics 
calculated to excite angry feelings on either side, and recommended conciliatory 
measures towards the colonies. 

Mr. Hume, after some sti'ictures upon the system of the British Government 
in the management of our colonies generally, observed, in reverting to the pre- 
sent question, that to the Parliamentary Resolutions of 1823, he did not think that 
any man who possessed the common feelings of humanity could object; and he 
hoped that they would be carried into effect to the fullest extent they were capable 
of. The House, however anxious it might be in the cause of humanity, was bound 
to do justice to those parties who stood unfortunately in the situation of slave 
proprietors ; and it was equally the interest of those proprietors to go along with 
Parliament in raising the condition of the unfortunate slave population. But the 
West Indians, he contended, agreed in every thing which that house proposed for 
the benefit of those in whose favour the resolutions of May, 1823, were framed. 
What did those resolutions set forth ? The first recognized the justice and pro- 
priety ot ameliorating the situation of the slave population. Now he never met 
an individual connected with the West Indies, with whom he had conversed on 
this subject, who dissented from the proposition contained in that resolution. 
Upon that point the House of Commons and the West India proprietors were 
agreed. The second resolution set forth, that temperate and judicious measures 
should be taken for the progressive improvement of the slave population, in order 
to fit them for the enjoyment of the rights and privileges that were possessed by 
other classes of His Majesty's subjects. Again, he never heard one of the West 
India proprietors express himself against that proposition. His hon. friend, the 
member for Weymouth, wished this change to be immediate, and not gradual; 
but he could not concur with him, because the negroes were not prepared to enjoy 
those advantages which freedom, if they were educated, would impart to them. 
Successive Ministers had endeavoured to ameliorate the situation of the negroes ; 
and though much still remained to be done, yet he could not agree with the 
noble viscount in declaring, for so he understood the noble viscount, that nothing 
whatever had been effected by his predecessors in office. The papers on the table, 
indeed, proved that a great deal had been done. The third resolution set forth, that 

128 Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Mr. Buxton. 

the House was desirous, for the safety of the colonies, that, in altering the condition 
of the slaves, a fair and equitable consideration of the interests of private property 
should be adopted. He would ask, had this last proposition been ever acted 
on ? Had any plan of emancipation been proposed, by which the rights of pro- 
perty would be respected ? No such thing. If he understood the papers rightly, 
if he understood what had occurred in the colonies, he must arrive at this con- 
clusion, — that the West Indians rejected certain propositions, because they were 
not accompanied by a measure which would have the effect of securing that re- 
spect which was due to their property and to their interests. He believed that if 
a plan were devised by which the amelioration of slavery could be effected, 
while property was respected, the colonists would gladly agree to such an arrange- 
ment. The noble viscount stated that we stood on the brink of a frightful pre- 
cipice. He admitted that such was the fact. And then came the question — were 
the measures proposed by His Majesty's Ministers calculated to avert the danger? 
Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Lucia, had all protested against the proceedings adopted 
by Ministers. Their protests, he allowed, were strong and violent; but looking 
to all the circumstances, that was not to be wondered at. He hoped when his 
hon. friend, the member for Weymouth, brought forward his motion, that Minis- 
ters would be ready to state in what way they proposed to ameliorate the situa- 
tion of the slave, and at the same time to give security to property. The measure 
of October last, was a rash and hasty one, and the flame which it had excited in 
the colonies might have been avoided, if the Ministers had waited for the opinion 
of a Committee of that House and of the House of Lords. 

Mr. Buxton then rose and spoke as follows : — " The hon. member for Mid- 
dlesex has complained of every body, with only one exception. It seems I am 
rash ; the Orders in Council are mischievous ; the Government are seriously to 
blame ; the planters alone are meritorious in his eyes. My hon. friend has stated 
that he never met with a planter who was disposed to dispute the authority of 
the Legislature at home, or who objected to the Resolutions of 1823. I do not 
ask what they may say ; but has my hon. friend ever met with a planter who was 
ready to carry the Resolutions of 1823 into effect ? Let me state the plain truth 
to the House. We have heard much of the tumults and disturbances in the 
colonies, but, I believe, comparatively little is known in this country of what 
takes place in Jamaica and some of the colonies. I would ask hon. gentlemen 
whether they are aware what was the last point discussed in the House of Assem- 
bly in Jamaica before the late events in that island ? It was whether women 
should be flogged in public or not." — [Several, Honourable Members. — 
" Oh ! Oh ! "] — " I am resolved to speak out. I repeat, this was the question 
discussed in the Colonial Assembly in Jamaica. Hon. gentlemen may be un- 
willing to hear, but I am determined to state the facts to the House. I have been 
almost challenged to come forward, and I will declare the truth. The Colonial 
Assemblies have been designated as obedient to the wishes of Parliament, but I 
would ask, what has been done ? As I said before, one of the last points dis- 
cussed was whether women should be flogged in public. Now the abolition of 
this practice was urgently dwelt upon by Mr. Canning. He called the flogging 
of women an unseemly and detestable practice ; and declared that the immediate 
discontinuance of it was the first step to be taken towards the moral advance- 
ment of the slave. This, therefore, it was understood was a point which the Go- 
vernment was to press on the colonies ; and yet, in the year 1831, the Assembly 
of Jamaica rejected a proposition for the abolition of the' flogging of women by a 
majority of 35 to 2. And yet my hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, sees 
nothing to condemn in their conduct. After this illustration of the good feeling 
and cheerful obedience of the planters, let me be told what other steps they have 
taken to fit the negroes for emancipation. 

" If I had seen any disposition on the part of the Colonial Assemblies to pre- 
pare the Negroes for emancipation by the communication of religious instruction, 
it would have been some satisfaction. I will not say that the adoption of such 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Mr. Buxton. 12^ 

a course would have prevented me from urging tlie matter on the attention of the 
House ; but if there was any thing that would have tempted me to forbear, it 
would have been seeing such a disposition on the part of the planters •,— 
would indeed have been a bribe to me. But now I do not hesitate to declare, 
that the whole aim of the Colonial Assemblies has been to suppress the religious 
instruction of the Negro. This is the direct charge which I make against the 
Colonial Assemblies of all the colonies. Individual and honourable exceptions 
there have been, but the general aim and object is the suppression of religious 
instruction. Let the House recollect only a single case which is an illustration 
of this. I am sure the case of the missionary Smith, of Demarara, is not yet 
forgotten. Now not only was this martyr persecuted to death, but the people of 
Demarara entered into a resolution, that the missionaries ought to be banished 
from the colonies, and that a law should be passed to prevent their entering it 
for the future. 

" In Trinidad a public meeting was held, at which a public functionary of the 
colony presided, when the persons assembled came to the following resolution on 
the subject of instruction ; ' Resolved, That any attempt to instil religious in- 
struction or education into the minds of ihe slaves is incompatible with the 
continuance of slavery.' Here the fact is candidly confessed — Christianity is 
indeed a blessing, but so is slavery ; unfortunately they are incompatible. If 
you will have religion you must renounce slavery, and if you will retain slavery, 
you must do without religion. In this dilemma they came to the resolution to 
reject the lesser and retain the greater and more necessary blessing. 

" In Barbadoes, need I remind the House of the disposition to foster religion 
evinced by their celebrated proceedings in 1323 ; the respectable inhabitants 
assembled and publicly proceeded to the demolition of the chapel; they hunted the 
missionary through the island, with the avowed purpose of taking his life. They 
published a proclamation exulting in what they had done ; it was a day, to use 
their own words, * as glorious to true Barbadians as Trafalgar to Britain ;' and 
they conculded with warning every missionary from the island under a penalty 
of death. What J think of such acts is of little moment. Can honourable gen- 
tlemen forget the strong language once used by this House relative to this tran- 
saction ? The memorable words of the resolution were, ' That this House deem 
it their duty to declare, that they view with the utmost indignation that daring 
and scandalous violation of law.' 

"I now come to Jamaica, with which colony the hon. and learned gentle- 
man (Mr. Burge) is more immediately connected, and I do not hesitate to 
assert, that in no place is the spirit of religious persecution more unequivocally 
manifested. I need hardly advert to the language of the colonial newspapers, — 
' the hanging woods of Trelawney,' — the clamour against the too indulgent 
Governor, who refused to hang the missionaries before trial; — let newspaper 
ebullitions pass. But look to the Act of the Legislative Assembly of Jamaica in 
1826. The planters were obedient enough as far as words went ; they announced 
their intention of introducing an Act, which should for ever put to silence the 
cavils of their enemies on the score of religion ; they passed the act ; and then boast 
of it as if they they had accomplished some miracle of charity. The Act comes 
over to England, and there is rejected, first by Mr. Huskisson, and the Govern- 
ment to which he belonged ; secondly, by the right hon. and gallant General 
opposite (Sir George Murray) and the Government to which he belonged ; and 
thirdly, by the noble lord, the present Secretary for the colonies. To use the 
language of Mr. Huskisson, it was rejected by him ' because it was a violation 
of that toleration which is due to all His Majesty's subjects.' This Act, which 
in Jamaica was cried up as a measure of excessive liberality, and had no fault 
but that of carrying Christian toleration too far, was rejected in this country with 
indignation, as an Act of unbearable bigotry. I do not hesitate to assert, that it 
was an Act of intolerable oppression, and one that has gone further than almost 
anything else to excite detestation of slavery in the breasts of the people of 


130 Debate on the Suyar Duties, — Mr. Buxton. 

England. The meaning of that Act -was the suppression of religious instruction. 
It was an attempt to do that by process of law in Jamaica, which was done by 
violence in Barbadues — by murder in Demarara — an expedient for shutting up 
the schools, puUing-down the chapel, and banishing the teachers. Nay, the 
purpose was not concealed ; the Committee in Jamaica to whom it was referred, 
give this recommendation, ' that the most positive and exemplary enactments 
should be passed to restrain the interference of the missionaries.' But nothing, 
perhaps, will so clearly illustrate the temper of the Jamaica planters on the sub- 
ject of the religious instruction of their slaves, as one or two cases which I will 
quote. 1 recommend them to the serious attention of gentlemen who have 
heard much of the beneficent treatment and superior happiness of the Negro. To 
those also I recommend them who believe in the often asserted disposition of the 
planters to promote religious instruction. But more especially do I recommend 
them to the diligent reflection of the Member for Middlesex, and of all those who 
with him hate religious persecution ; for he will find, in what I am going to state, 
persecution, not in its modern and mitigated meaning; not that which carries this 
odious name in Ireland and elsewhere, the denial of civil rights, the usurpation 
of authority in matters of conscience ; but persecution as meant in the worst 
and darkest of times — in the days of Queen Mary, in the dungeons of the inqui- 
sition — persecution to torments and to death. 

" The first case to which I shall allude is that of Henry Williams. I am not 
aware whether the House is acquainted with the facts of this case; if my hon. 
friend says that he is acquainted with this case, and at the same time declares 
that there is no religious persecution in Jamaica, I will not go on with the sub- 
ject. I ask my hon. friend whether he is acquainted v;ith the case to which I re- 
fer?" [Mr. Hume. — " I know nothing about it."] "Then he ought to know 
something about it, and I will tell him. The negro in question was accused of 
no fault ; he was a remarkably respectable man, and entrusted, in some degree, 
with the superintendence of his fellow slaves. He belonged to the congregation 
of the missionaries, and attended chapel many years with his master's sanction. 
His master dying, a new system was adopted by the new manager, a Mr. Betty, 
who issued anathemas against the chapel, and told Henry Williams that if he 
attended there again, lie should be sent to Rodney Hall workhouse. On hearing 
this, the sister of Williams sighed, and for that offence she was instantly stretched 
naked on the earth, in the presence of the gang, and severely flogged. This was 
the award of this * natural protector' of the slaves, as the planters call them- 
selves ; this was ' willing obedience' to the voice of the people of England ; this 
was toleration ; this was humanity ; this was justice. But to return to Williams : 
he obeyed the order, and abstained from chapel ; but Mr. Betty, who was evi- 
dently resolved to put down the missionaries with a high band, and to make an 
example of their best convert, found a pretence in Williams's not having also 
brought the gang with him to church : he sent him to Rodney Hall workhouse, 
where he was loaded with chains, flogged repeatedly, till he was reduced to such 
a state, that even the gaoler took pity on him, and sent him to the hospital, 
where he was obliged to lie on his face, his back being one mass of corruption. 
I refer gentlemen for further details of this case to the Parliamentary Papers. — 
Nor is it a solitary one ; but it is not my intention to dwell on the acts of indi- 
viduals, however atrocious ; and I only mention this one, in order to impress 
on the House the further, and much more appalling fact, that Mr. Betty said, 
and said truly, that all his proceedings on this case were fully justified by the 
existing laws of Jamaica. The case was submitted to the law authorities there 
as well as in England ; and it was the opinion of these authorities, that there was 
no law which forbad the flogging of the female for sighing, or of her brother for 
worshipping God. Mr. Betty's language was — ' Submit the act to a jury of 
twelve honest planters, and their verdict shall convince you that I have exercised 
only the undoubted and constitutional rights of a West India manager. I did 
flog the woman ; I did send the man to the workhouse ; was there any thing 

Debate OH the Suijar Duties. — Mr. Buxton. 131 

illegal in it ? ' Trouble me/ he says to the right honourable baronet, Sir 
George Murray, 'trouble me not with your interrogatories; I will answer none 
of them.' The same law which permits the torment of these innocent beings, 
justifies those by whom those tormen'.s are inflicted. I complain not of Mr. 
Betty — he acted as a ruffian, but he acted legally; my complaint is levelled at 
the law, which makes such acts legal. Law in England is for the protection of 
the weak ; in Jamaica it is the security and safeguard of those who, like Mr. 
Betty, first revel in the sufferings of their fellow-creatures, and then plead the 
law as their justification. But what if a tumult had been excited ? Suppose 
such a riot as that which has lately occurred in Jamaica — (it may have been more 
than a riot — it may have been an insurrection ; but I can shew who are the real 
insurgents ; I will undertake to prove to demonstration that the planters were 
the authors of these disturbances.) — Suppose a riot had occurred on the occasion 
which I have alluded to, who could have lamented it? If the miscreant who com- 
mitted this atrocity had been put to death on the spot, who could have lamented 
it? I know that if this had occurred we should have heard of insurrection, and 
the Government would have been called upon to put martial law in force. And 
is the Government to feel no compassion, and Parliament to afford no protec- 
tion to those whose sighs are visited as crimes, and whose religion is rewarded 
by the cart whip ? I cannot refrain from mentioning one more case, that of a 
negro, who, in 1830, was found guilty of merely having attended a prayer-meet- 
ing at the house of his pastor, and having been seen in the act of prayer. — 
This was the only charge against him, and he was convicted of that crime 
and sentenced to imprisonment and flogging. It will be unnecessary for me to 
go into the facts of the case." 

Mr. BuRGE here said, — " I rise to order. I put it to the House whether this 
train of argument ought to be continued." 

Mr. Buxton continued — " I am in order, and I will go on. The hon. and 
learned member has provoked this discussion, and he shall have it. I forget the 
name of the slave, but I will state the circumstances of the case. It appears 
that Mr. Nibbs, a dissenting clergyman, being ill, his congregation met on Eas- 
ter Monday for the purpose of prayer. In this there was nothing illegal ; but a 
negro who attended by permission of his master, perpetrated an act which aroused 
the indignation of the colonists. He was seen in the act of prayer." [Several 
Members. — " Oh ! oh !"] " Gentlemen may well be astonished at what I have 
related, but I am satisfied of the correctness of my statement. If the Noble Lord, 
the Under Secretary for the Colonies, will say that I have deviated from the truth 
in the slightest degree, I will sit down. If the Gallant Officer will say that 
I have exaggerated the facts of the case in the slightest degree, I will at once sit 
down. But until I am contradicted I will continue to repeat what I know to be 
the truth. I repeat, then, that tlie negro, whose name I have for the moment 
forgotten, and which the Noble Lord will perhaps have the goodness to recall to 
my mind, was tried for having been seen in the act of prayer. I do not recollect 
the name of the man at this moment, but I have no doubt 1 shall presently ; but 
the truth is I was not aware that a discussion of this nature would have arisen, or 
I would have prepared myself for the occasion. When the slave was put on his 
trial, he said that he had been guilty of no crime. One witness deposed that he 
saw the man's lips move; another that he was in the attitude of prayer; another 
made nearly a similar deposition. On the trial, Mr. Nibbs acted as the prisoner's 
counsel as well as his pastor, and he said that there was no charge against the slave, 
as prayer was not illegal. The Gustos replied that praying was preaching, and 
unlicensed preaching was illegal, and consequantly convicted the prisoner. I 
now recollect that the name of the slave was Swiney. He was convicted ; and 
thus Mr. Nibbs describes the result : — ' Early on the following morning, I went 
out express to see the disgusting scene that was then enacted. What my feelings 
were I will not now express, when I saw a fellow creature — a respectable trades- 
man of his class — stretched indecently on the earth, and lacerated with a cart whip, 
and immediately after chained to a convict and sent to work on the road — to 
s:ratify the prejudices of those who hold that preaching and praying arc the 

132 Debate on the Sugar Duties.- — Mr. Buxton. 

same, and equally infractions of the law of Jamaica.' I will pledge myself to 
the facts of this case . Now for another. A negro was convicted of a similar 
offence in August, 1830, and sentenced to an equally severe punishment. Ilis 
name was Ankle. The fu'st witness said, 'I saw him stand up and pray.' The 
second ' he is in the habit of praying.' They are asked what is the cha- 
racter of the man ; — 'An excellent man; always pleases every body.' His own 
defence is that he thought there was no harm in praying for himself and his com- 
panions that God would bless them all. Convicted, and sentenced to six months' 
imprisonment with hard labour. — A white man and his wife were convicted of 
the most horrible murder — Gentlemen will not forget the red pepper rubbed into 
the eyes of the dying victim — and were sentenced to five months imprisonment 
and a fine ; — so much more criminal is it in the eyes of planters for a negro to 
worship God, than for a white man to commit murder ! — Other pleas may be 
given for punishing slaves, but the face and front of their offence is their attending 
religious worship. This is the great, the unpardonable crime in the eyes of the 
planters. After the facts which I have stated, which at once demonstrate the exist- 
ence of religious persecution, the defence of the honourable and learned mem- 
ber for Eye falls to the ground. The truth is that nothing has been done for the 
religious instruction of these people. There are many exceptions, but the system 
of slavery requires that its victims should be kept in darkness, and have no know- 
ledge of divine truth. 

" If it be true, as the people of Trinidad tell us ' that religious instruction and 
slavery are incompatible,' the people of England have then to determine, whether 
the slave population of the colonies shall or shall not be entirely debarred from 
religious instruction, and from the blessings and consolations which Christianity 
holds out to them. I do not mean to deny that there has been a rebellion in Ja- 
maica — I do not mean to say that it was not attended with danger — but I say 
that the planters were the cause of it. (Hear ! Hear !) I repeat that the planters 
were the cause of it, and I wash my words to be taken down. For the last six 
months what have we heard of, in their Colonial Assemblies, but seditious and in- 
flammatory language, the tendency of which was to excite tumult? Public meet- 
ings have been held in every parish in Jamaica, in which they have talked of 
casting off the yoke of Great Britain, and of throwing themselves upon America 
for protection. They have told this country that they are prepared to take up 
arms — that they are ready to shake off their allegiance, and to go to war with the 
mother country. It may be thought that I have exaggerated the language used at 
these public meetings, but as a proof that this is not the case, I will refer to the re- 
solutions agreed to at a meeting of the parish of St. Ann, in the island of Jamaica. 
I find the following resolutions in the Royal Gazette of the 13th of August. 

" ' At a very numerous and respectable meeting of the inhabitants of the parish of 
St. Ann, convened by his honour the Gustos, this 6th day of August 1831, and held 
at the Court House, St. Ann's Bay, his honour the Gustos having been called to the 
chair, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to : 

" ' Resolved— That we, the inhabitants of the parish of St. Ann, have repeatedly 
expressed our warmest indignation at, and abhorrence of, the oppressive measures 
pursued by the British Government towards the West India Golonies. 

" ' Resolved — That while there was a hope of conciliating our implacable foes, 
we acquiesced cheerfully in the conduct of our legislature ; but it is now evident 
that the concessions yielded by that body, have been successively obtained under 
pledges and promises on the part of Ministers, ' to abstain from all future interfer- 
ence in our local concerns ;' which pledges have been violated in every instance ; 
giving us thereby convincing proof that pei-tidy and determined oppression, as far 
as regards the colonies, are the ruling principles of the British Cabinet. 

" ' Resolved — That hitherto, under the most marked infractions of our rights and 
privileges, we have been loyal ; the attachment to the mother country has indeed 
long, very long, outlived her justice ; and it would now be with grief that we should 
divest ourselves of a feeling, ' which has grown with our growth, and has strength- 
ened with our strength ;' but when we see ourselves scorned, betrayed, devoted to 
ruin and slaughter, delivered over to the enemies of our country, we consider that 
we are bound by ever principle, human and divine, to resist,' 

Debate on the Sugar Duties. — Mr. Buxton. 133 

" The two last words are printed in capitals. Again I would call the attention 
of tlie House to an advertisement, which appeared in The Courant of the 16th 
of July last. 

" ' Shortly will be published. The Signal, Carpe Diem, a periodical work, writ- 
ten for the express purpose of rousing the latent energies of the inhabitants of Ja- 
maica ; to lay open the perils which await them ; to point out the means of avoiding 
them ; to stimulate all classes to a close and unanimous effort in defence and pre- 
servation of their just rights and privileges, their altars, their homes, their fami- 
lies, their properties, and their lives ; to show the necessity of throwing off the 
yoke of a tyrannical Government ; and, finally, to lead to that independence of 
which local advantages promise the attainment. 

" ' The Government which arbitrarily or capriciously invades the right of pri- 
vate property, releases the oppressed sufferer from obedience and allegiance. — To 
your tents, O Israel ! ' 

"Such is the language used in their newspapers as well as at their public meet- 
ings. I know that nothing is to be feared from such language, as it is rather 
ridiculous than any thing else. I know well that they cannot think seriously of 
throwing themselves into the arms of America. As for resistance that would be 
quite out of the question. How can the whites of Jamaica think seriously of 
throwing off the yoke, when the whole male white inhabitants of that colony 
capable of bearing arms, between the age of sixteen and sixty, does not exceed 
4,000. I say, I do not dispute the valour of this band ; but these 4,000 heroes 
would have something upon their hands ; they would have, first, to conquer his 
Majesty's troops — no doubt an easy task ; secondly, they would have to over- 
throw the free people of colour ; and having accomplished these two exploits, 
they would have to subdue, and to keep in subjection, 330,000 slaves. I 
acquit them, then, of seriously meaning to punish Great Britain; they meant to 
frighten us here ; they supposed that timid persons would imagine that men so 
terrible in word, would be as terrible in deed. They talk of transferring their 
allegiance to America. Will the free people and the negroes consent to it? Now 
I hold in my hand an Act of the Legislature of Carolina, which I will quote for 
the purpose of showing, whether there is likely to be a junction between the 
colonies and America. It is called, An Act for the better Government of our 
Slave population. It states, that if any vessels arrive at any state in that 
place containing a crew of free blacks, they shall be immediately taken to gaol, 
there to remain for a given time. The clause contains these words, to which I 
will beg to direct the attention of the House — ' and such free people, or persons 
of colour, shall be deemed and taken as absolute slaves, and sold, in conformity 
with the provisions of the Act passed for that purpose.' Why this is a positive 
decision upon the subject, a clear answer to the argument to which I have just 
referred. There is not a Government on the face of the earth which has expressed 
such disaffection to, and contempt of persons of colour, as the American Govern- 
ment. Here is the olive branch. This is the temptation held out by America to 
seduce away the affections of the people of colour. England need fear no dan- 
gerous rival in that quarter. — I have done ; 1 had no intention of speaking to- 
night, and if I have spoken warmly, the learned member for Eye, and the hon. 
member for Middlesex imposed upon me the necessity of doing so." 

Mr. GouLBURN deprecated the discussion of the subject of Slavery on the 
present occasion, and wished to confine the attention of the House to the main 
question now before them. He approved of the liberal conduct of Government, 
in compensating the planters for the losses they had sustained, and thought that 
great evils and dangers would be thereby averted. But he contended, that Mi- 
nisters were bound to declare their specific intentions in regard to the proposed 
plan of relief, for the benefit and satisfaction both of the growers and consumers 
of sugar. 

Lord Sandon followed in the same strain; severely blaming Mr. Buxton for 
intemperate language on the Slavery question ; and while he admitted that the 
colonists had been guiliy of great indiscretion, he thought that much allowance 

1 34 Intelligence from Jamaica. — Persecution of Missionaries. 

should be made for them on accouat of their situation, their behef that their in- 
terests were neglected by Government, and the provocation they had received by 
the language used towards them by certain parties in this country. 

Lord Althorp stated in reply, that the Order in Council which had been sent 
out to the colonies was the Order, a compliance with which was the condition on 
which relief was to be granted. At the same time, if any gentlemen connected 
with the colonies could point out any thing in the details, the operation of which 
would be unsuitable to the management of the slaves, his Majesty's Government 
would be quite ready to attend to such suggestions ; but to the principle of the 
Order in Council, his Majesty's Government were determined to adhere. After 
some remarks on the introduction of the Slavery question into the present discus- 
sion, which he showed had been necessarily brought on by the course adopted by 
the West India gentlemen, the noble lord, in explanation of not staling in detail the 
intended course of proceeding, observed, that the grounds upon which he ab- 
stained from doing so were, first, that up to the present moment the Committee 
upon West India Affairs had not made their report; and secondly, as the mea- 
sures of relief were to be conditional, he wished to give time to the Colonial 
Legislatures to consider the Order in Council before the measures of relief were 
brought forward. The alterations to which he had alluded would be merely in 
the details of the Order; the principle would remain precisely the same. No 
delay would therefore take place. 

Mr. Keith Douglas said, that the principal objection made to the Order in 
Council was, that it was inapplicable to the state of many of the colonies. But 
if his Majesty's Government were willing to re-consider the details of die Order, 
to which the chief objections applied, then, to a certain extent, the whole question 
was altered, and the explanation of the noble lord might lead to a satisfactory 
issue. Every person would allow that, in the present state of the West Indies, 
it was desirable they should have perfectly new laws for the protection of the 
slaves ; and therefore he hoped that the explanation now given would remove 
the difficulty, which he believed was principally owing to the belief that the 
Order in Council was to be applied verbatim et literatim. 

The House then resolved itself into Committee on the Bill. 

We postpone all remarks upon this debate, and on the measures proposed by 
Government, until the Report of the Committee shall appear. 

II. Recent Intelligence from Jamaica. 
Persecution of the Missionaries — Treatmeiit of Henri/ Williams. 

The disturbances in Jamaica have been for the present suppressed, with the 
vmnecessary effusion apparently of much negro blood, and the perpetration of 
much wanton cruelty. The details are, however, as yet too imperfectly known 
to enable us to enter upon a satisfactory examination of these lamentable trans- 
actions and their probable results ; and we therefore confine ourselves to one or 
two brief extracts from the Watchman newspaper. 

Our readers are aware that, as usual on like occasions, a violent outcry has 
been raised by the Jamaica slave-holders against the Christian Missionaries, 
denouncing them as the direct instigators of the late negro insurrection, and 
calling loudly for their blood, or, at the very least, for their entire extirpation 
from the colony. Several of them, Wesleyans, Moravians, and more especially 
Baptists, have been tried or examined; but the slightest shadow of blame has not 
been made good against them, even before Jamaica courts of justice. Never- 
theless, such is the state of colonial feeling, that some of these worthy servants of 
their Divine Master, for no odier offence than preaching his Gospel to those 
wretched outcasts of humanity, the negro slaves, have narrowly escaped assas- 
sination ; and their chapels, to the number of ten or twelve, have been burnt or 
pulled down by the infuriated wjiite inhabitants. The following are some of the • 
remarks of the Watchman on this subiect : — 

Intelligence from Jamaica. — West India Inquiry. 135 

" A hue and cry has been raised by a venal press, first against one missionary, 
and then against another; slill we do not find a single circumstance to criminate 
them, if we except the testimony of a few rebels and traitors, whose iniquitous 
acts should at once invalidate their evidence. Under other circumstances, no 
reasonable man would listen to their tales; but because they happen to make 
against the missionaries, men who have been, almost without intermission, per- 
secuted and reviled in this island for many years past, they are greedily caught 
at, and by many implicitly believed. In short, testimony is received against 
them, which would be scouted at and rejected if brought forward against any 
%chite man, not suspected of being a saint. 

" That the negroes rebelled, and were guilty of acts the most unjustifiable, is 
admitted ; but how their acts can be charged on the missionaries, we leave tlie 
prejudiced, the vindictive, and sanguinary, to explain. The fact is, a confederacy 
exists against every thing which savours of religion, and the extermination of 
Christianity is the object of the infamous coalition. When the Bible is denounced 
by a newspaper,* published in the city of Kingston, in the island of Jamaica, as 
a blasphemous and unchaste book, can it be wondered at that exertions are being 
made for the destruction of the places of public worship, and the annihilation of 
Christianity itself? But let the chapel destroyers, and those who are even now 
plotting the destruction of those places of worship in this and Spanish Town, be- 
ware ! for retributive justice still exists. Those already destroyed are said to 
have cost upwards of £14,000. This sum will again be raised for the rebuilding 
of those very places, consecrated to the worship of the Most High God, which the 
hands of fiendish impiety have levelled with the ground." 

We add the following notice of the recent treatment of that unfortunate Chris- 
tian slave, Henry Williams, the particulars of whose previous persecution we have 
detailed in Nos. 65, 69, and 77, of the Reporter: (see also p. 130, of this No.) 

" The public may no doubt recollect the slave, Henry Williams, who was so 
severely punished by Mr. Betty, at the instigation of the Rev. George Wilson 
Bridges, the rector of St. Ann's, because he refused to attend the ministry of that 
rev. gentleman, preferring that of the Wesleyan missionaries, to which society he 
belonged. This unfortunate slave, we understand, was, about a week ago, taken 
from the estate, which he had been superintending in the absence of the white 
people, (who were on militia duty,) and questioned as to what the missionaries 
at that place had preached to them, &c.; but his answers, we are told, were 
deemed unsatisfactory and impertinent, and he was sentenced to receive 340 
lashes, the whole of which could not be inflicted, a doctor who was near by, 
declaring he would die under it. We do not profess to be acquainted with all the 
particulars of this case of unparalleled barbarity ; but, as soon as we are in pos- 
session of them, we shall not fail to expose the whole case and its authors to 
public execration." 

III. Committee of Inquiry in the House of Lords. 
A Committee of Inquiry on West India affairs in the House of Lords, has 
been obtained by the importunity of the Colonial Interest, and will commence 
its proceedings in a few days. The chief object of this inquiry appears to be, 
to show that the recent Order in Council is injurious in its tendency; although 
that Order professes to do little more than to give to the slaves the more effective 
protection of law ; to put down the whip in the field ; to forbid the flogging of 
women ; to legalise and facilitate marriage; to prevent the separation of families;; 
to secure to the slaves their property ; to admit their testimony ; to facilitate ma- 
numission ; to insure adequate food and clothing; and to prevent the undue ex- 
action of labour. 

* The .Jamaica Courant. 

136 Anti-Slavery Record. — General Meeting. 

And will it be enduied by the British people, now generally awakening to a 
full conviction of the miserable impolicy as well as the awful national guilt of 
longer upholding the system of colonial slavery, that even its proposed mitiga- 
tion shall be indefinitely postponed, and the claim for its abolition virtually 
abandoned ! And for what ? To enable tlie "West India planters to persist in 
their insane career, till this system of iniquity shall be broken up with a crash 
which must involve their own destruction ; until it be too late, in short, for 
legislative wisdom to interfere, and slavery be extinguished not by the decree 
of a repentant nation, but by the judgments of an offended God. 

IV. Mr. Buxton's Motion in the House of Commons. 

The discussion of Mr. Buxton's motion in the House of Commons, for the 
speedy and total extinction of slavery in the British colonies, has been finally 
fixed for the 24th of May. It is confidently expected that all sincere friends of 
that object throughout the kingdom, will unite in strongly urging upon their 
representatives in Parliament the duty of strenuously supporting Mr. Buxton in 
the important debate anticipated at this eventful crisis of the Question. 

V. The Anti-Slavery Record. 

The Committee of the Anti-Slavery Society, in compliance with the often ex- 
pressed wishes of numerous respected correspondents, have commenced a new 
and cheap periodical publication, adapted for general circulation. We subjoin 
the following introductory notice from the first number, which is to be issued on 
the first of May, and recommend the work to the cordial support of the friends of 
our cause. 

" The Anti -Slavery Record is issued at the request of many zealous friends of 
Negro Emancipation throughout the country, and is intended to meet the 
increasing demand for fresh information on every topic connected with this 
great question. Its purpose is not to supersede, in any respect, other more im- 
portant publications of the Anti-Slavery Society, but to act as a useful auxiliary, 
by supplying, at the cheapest possible rate, intelligence adapted for popular cir- 
culation, on a variety of points to which the Society's Reporter cannot always 
conveniently advert. 

" The Record will appear on the first day of every month, should 
public encouragement warrant it. The price will be One Penny ; each num- 
ber consisting of 12 pages duodecimo. The topics will, of course, vary 
with the current of events ; but an abstract, more or less extended, according 
to circumstances, will be regularly given of the Reporters, and of other 
Anti-Slavery publications, as they issue from the press — for the information 
of svich readers as, either from necessity or choice, direct their attention more to 
matters of fact than to the argumentative discussions arising in the progress of 
the controversy. In a word, the special business of the Anti-Slavery Record will 
be to collect and communicate authentic intelligence ; while, as its title imports, 
it will at the same time be a general register of all interesting information con- 
nected with the cause of Negro Emancipation." 

VI. General Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society. 

A General Meeting of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the 
British Dominions, and of the Friends of that Cause, will he held at Exeter Hall, 
Strand, on Saturday the Twelfth of May, 1832. The doors will be opened at 
eleven o'clock, and the chair taken at twelve precisely. 

Tickets of admission may be had on application after the 28th of April, at the 
Society's Office, 18, Aldermanbury ; at Messrs. Hatchard and Son's, 187, Picca- 
dilly; Mr. Nisbet's, 21, Berners Street; Messrs. Seeley's, Fleet Street; and 
Messrs. Arch's, 61, Cornhill. 

London : Samuel Bagster, Jun. Printer, 14, Bartliolomew Close. 


No. 96.] MAY, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 5. 


i. — Proceedings of a General Meeting of the Anti-Slavery 
Society and its friends, held at Exeter-Hall, on Saturday, 
the 12th of May, 1832. 

This meeting, in point of respectability, number, and ardour in the 
cause, was calculated to afford the highest gratification to the friends 
of humanity. Notwithstanding the absorbing interest of contemporary 
occurrences in the political world, which deprived the Society of the 
personal presence and support of some of its most distinguished mem- 
bers, we have on no former occasion witnessed so much eagerness 
among the intelligent classes of society to be present at the dis- 
cussion of the cause of the Negro. In consequence of this eager- 
ness, the passages leading to the place of meeting were thronged at 
an early hour, and it was found requisite to open the doors long be- 
fore the time announced in the advertisement. The capacious hall, 
calculated, v/e believe, to contain not fewer than three thousand per- 
sons, was crowded to overflowing in every part ; and many hundreds 
went away without being able to obtain entrance. Among those 
present on the platform we observed Lord Suffield, the Hon. 
and Rev. Baptist Noel, Hon. G. J. Vernon, M. P., Dr. Lushington, 
M. P., Messrs. James Stephen, William Smith, T. F. Buxton, M. P., 
Z. Macaulay, W. Whitmore, M. P., Daniel O'Connell, M. P., P. C. 
Crampton, M. P., Solicitor-General for Ireland, W. Evans, M. P., 
J. Wilks,M.P., J.W. Pendarvis, M.P.,A. Johnstone, M.P., J.Bennett 
M. P., Rev. J. W. Cunningham, Rev. John Burnett, Rev. Joseph Ivi- 
mey. Rev. Dr. Cox, Rev. Dr. Bennett, Rev. Mr. James of Birmino-- 
ham, Messrs. Samuel Hoare, W. Allen, J. and R. Forster, W. A. Gar- 
ratt, G. Stephen, H. Pownall, and many other persons distinguished by 
their long services or their ardent zeal in the cause of Christian hu- 

Lord Suffield having moved " that the old and tried friend of 
negro emancipation, James Stephen, Esq., be requested to take the 
Chair," that gentleman was called by acclamation to preside, and, 
after a few introductory words from Mr. Buxton, — 

Mr. STEPHEN rose and briefly addressed the meeting. It was 
not, he said, an unnecessary introduction with which he had been 
favoured by his friend ; for, however singular it might appear, it had 
unfortunately happened that of late he had not attended any of the 

Vol. V. T 

138 General Meetincj — Lord Suffield. 

Annual Meetings of the Anti-Slavery Society, nor indeed had taken any 
public or prominent share in its proceedings for the last four or five 
years. Itw^as, therefore, reasonable to conclude that to many persons, 
in the large assembly in which he had the honour of presiding, he 
might be personally unknown. Those, however, who were in posses- 
sion of his sentiments would, he was persuaded, do him the justice of 
believing that his absence from the scene of their deliberations was 
not attributable to a want of inclination — to an abatement of zeal — 
but to an overwhelming necessity, which barred the indulgence of 
his wishes. The truth was, that the infirmities of increasing years 
had unfitted him for taking an active part in the proceedings of 
a public meeting ; and he had abstained from attending, lest, sitting 
as a silent spectator, he might cast a damp upon the exertions of 
others. If he now consented to occupy the chair, it was from a con- 
viction that, in such a meeting, his labours must be light, and because 
if they proved too heavy for him he had the kind promise of his noble 
friend, Lord Suffield, that he would act in his place and allow him to 
retire. He had made this explanation, as some of his friends might 
have deemed him inconsistent. On this occasion he had certainly 
departed from his general rule ; but it was an occasion of extreme 
urgency, and he could not refuse to come forward, probably for the 
last time in his life, at a period when it was imperative on every faith- 
ful friend of the slave to lend his cause all the countenance he could. 

Lord SUFFIELD rose to propose the first of a series of resolutions, 
to be submitted to the meeting. His Lordship was happy to congra- 
tulate the friends of the cause upon the number and respectability of 
the assembly by which he was surrounded ; but mingled with his 
congratulations must be the expression of sonae surprise and of great 
regret. His surprise was not awakened by the cheering sight of so 
large an audience : for last year also the Hall was crowded, and sure 
he was that crowded it would be if it were twice as spacious ; that was 
not the cause of his surprise, still less of his regret ; but his surprise 
and regret were excited by the fact that at this period — that in 
the nineteenth century — in the year 1832 — that in a land of liberty— 
in England, a country proverbial for its love of freedom — they should 
be assembled — to do what? — why, to debate upon the existence of 
slavery among British subjects ! (Hear.) He was persuaded that the 
meeting would sympathise with him in expressing his surprise and 
regret at the nature of the question which had called them together. 
What, he demanded to know, was the subject they were now to dis- 
cuss ? Was it a topic on which any human being in any corner of this 
vast empire could entertain or dare to avow a difierence of opinion ? 
(Hear.) Would not one and all say they were averse to slavery, 
and ardent for the liberty of 800,000 of their fellow-subjects, at a 
moment when Britons were struggling for what they conceived to be 
their inalienable rights ? (Great Applause.) Warmly as he was known 
to feel on this subject — strongly as he had declared himself to be in 
every way] a determined reformer (renewed applause) — resolute as 
he was in retaining that course of public life on which it was unneces- 

General Meeting — Lord Sujfieid. 139 

sary for him further to expatiate — still he should reserve his observ^a- 
tions on these points to a more fitting opportunity, and keep to the 
object immediately before them. He begged not to be misunder- 
stood. It was not his design to introduce any political theme — and, 
if he had adverted to events then in progress, it was only incidental 
to his mention of the word liberty. Britons were, he repeated, strug- 
gling to recover what they conceived to be their just rights ; — on the 
nature of those rights he would forbear to enter ; — but Avere they, he 
would ask, struggling for the redress of personal injuries — such redress 
as was contended for on behalf of their fellow subjects in the West 
Indies ? Whence arose the necessity of all this ceremony ? Whence 
the necessity of this meeting with its Committee, and Chairman, and 
Secretary, convened formally to express the detestation with which 
the British public regarded slavery ? He was bound to admit — and 
herein lay the cause of his regret — that there existed among a certain 
portion of the community (a portion not confined to the much calum- 
niated and contemned lower classes of society) an apathy on the sub- 
ject of slavery which filled him with astonishment, and which could 
only be accounted for by supposing them ignorant of the question. 
Now, it was the object of the Anti-Siavery Society, by holding public 
meetings, by distributing tracts, and by every other practicable method, 
to inform people who would read (and he suspected that the love 
of reading was now more general among the lower than the higher 
classes) not only of what slavery actually was, but of what it must 
necessarily be so long as it was suffered to exist. Hence the use of 
the Anti-Slavery Society, and the importance of its efforts in dispell- 
ing the clouds of darkness which veiled the deformities of the system 
against which it pronounced judgment. 

It was impossible for any person, hov/ever superficial might have 
been the view he had taken, not to contemplate with horror the atro- 
cious cruelties inflicted on the unhappy slaves in the West Indies. 
He did not wish to excite their feelings by a recital of those unhal- 
lowed acts, or by a reference to their details. He touched upon them 
merely for the purpose of introducing that which he considered of 
consequence to their case ; namely, the way in which the statement 
of these cruelties was met by the colonists. He hardly recollected 
one occasion on which he had made a statement of the kind that 
he had not been met by the reply, " These things are bad enough ; 
but are there not cruelties in England as well as in the West Indies ? 
Are there not cruelties in every country under the sun ?" For the 
sake of the argument he would admit the truth of the replication ; 
he would concede the position, that cruelties were unfortunately com- 
mitted here and elsewhere — though he was not prepared to believe 
that our domestic misdeeds equalled in atrocity those perpetrated in 
the West Indies. But then (and he would press this point upon the 
attention of his audience) what v/as the popular feeling in regard to the 
perpetrators of such deeds in England and in the West Indies respec- 
tively ? In the one country a case of cruelty excited the greatest indig- 
nation, and exposed the perpetrator to the vengeance of the public ; in 
the other, the culprit was shielded knd protected, and sometimes pub- 

140 General Mectituj — Lord Sujffickl. 

licly rewarded. His Lordship, in corroboration of this statement, re- 
ferred to the case of Mrs. Brownrigg-, who was accused in England of 
starving her apprentices ; and to the case of the Mosses, in the 
Bahamas, who had been found guilty of committing the most horrid 
and revolting cruelties upon one of their female slaves. In*the former 
case, it was with difficulty that the delinquent was saved from the fm-y 
of the populace ; in the latter the most respectable inhabitants of the 
island petitioned the government to remit the sentence of a fine of 
£300 and six months' imprisonment ; and, not succeeding in their 
petition, they recompenced the parties by a grand dinner to celebrate 
the occasion of their coming out of prison ! It was thus that cruelty 
to the slave was looked upon by the " respectable" inhabitants of 
the Bahamas ! and these occurrences took place not at a distant 
date — not at a time when attention was little directed to the condi- 
tion of the Negro — but in the year 1829, when the colonists professed 
their readiness to soften the hardships of their bondmen. This ex- 
ample (and it was only one out of innumerable instances) showed 
that, not only were acts of inhuman atrocity committed in the West 
Indies, but that the slaves in these colonies were peculiarly liable to 
their infliction, from the indifference with which such offences are 
regarded, even when a conviction (and that was a matter of extreme 
difficulty) could be obtained. It had been stated by the advocates of 
the planters that the cases of atrocity were rare. He would admit 
that the number of cases which came to the knowledge of the public 
were compartively few, and thus far they might be pronounced rare ; 
but how could it be otherwise, when almost the only means of in- 
formation were derived from parties universally interested in the con- 
cealment of the facts ? (Hear, hear.) 

His Lordship then adverted to the general question of slavery, and 
remarked that it embraced a great number of points, many of which 
lie must pass by, both for the sake of time, and on account of other 
gentlemen prepared to speak upon them. He had a memorandum of 
ten points upon which he would have liked to dwell : — 1. The general 
neglect of the moral, intellectual, and religious instruction of the 
slaves. 2. The profanation of the Sabbath, as a day of rest, ordained 
by a beneficent Providence for relaxation from labour as well as for 
spiritual improvement. 3. The licentious and indecent treatment of 
females. 4. The excess and barbarity of punishment to which the 
slaves are subjected. 5. The discouragement of marriage. 6. The 
shameful neglect or perversion of the laws intended to restrain cruelties. 
7. The hardship of the present leiw, which enables the colonists to 
separate families, or the nearest kindred, by sale. 8. The incom- 
petency of slave evidence, which makes it almost impossible to secure 
the conviction of the perpetrators of acts of cruelty. 9. The extreme 
difficulty thrown in the way of a slave recovering his freedom by pur- 
chase. 10. The uncertainty in which he held his liberty, even if it 
was procured. — These points, his Lordship remarked, he must leave 
to be handled by other speakers, whose line of argument he would 
not preoccupy. He would confine himself to a few observations upon 
two others ; namely, the excess of labour to which the slaves are suh- 

General Meeting — Lord Suffield. 141 

jected, and the insuiBciency of their maintenance. With regard to 
the first point, it might be asked, what good proof had he of the 
slaves being overworked 1 He had proof at once irrefragable and 
horrifying, in an entire reversion of the order of nature, a decrease, 
a large decrease, in the slave population, as furnished by the parlia- 
mentary returns, out of the mouths of the planters themselves. The 
official returns, on which he founded his statement, it must be observed, 
were confined to the sugar colonies, and specially related to the field 
Negroes in those colonies ; that is, to those slaves who are subject to 
that symbol of office, as the colonists call it, — the cart whip. This 
circumstance merited attention, as showing that the decrease was not 
in the slave population generally, but in that part of it subjected to 
excessive labour under the stimulus of the cart-whip. The following 
was stated by his Lordship to be a summary of the parliamentary re- 
turns, showing the amount of decrease in the population of field 
Negroes : — In Antigua, the decrease in 11 years was 868 — in Berbice, 
in 9 years, 1844 — in Demerara, in 12 years, 13,367 — in Grenada, in 

12 years, 2,597 — in Jamaica (and this was the island where a naval 
officer said he found the Negroes so happy that he almost wished 
he had been born a slave !) — in Jamaica, the decrease was, in 12 years, 
19,163 — in Montserrat, in 11 years, 131 — in Nevis, in 1 1 years, 
192 — in St. Christopher's, in 10 years, 69 — in St. Lucia, in 13 years, 
1942— in St. Vincent's, in 10 years, 1248 — in Tobago, in 10 years, 
2803 — in Tortola, in 10 years, 143 — in Trinidad, in 13 years, 6068. 
The decrease in these 13 colonies, therefore, on an average of 11 years 
and a half, was 50,435. (Hear I hear! ) In the Mauritius, the decrease 
in 10 years and three quarters was 10,767. These facts were indis- 
putable, and what reply could be made to them ? Why, the planters 
attempted to meet the case, by alleging that the decrease arose out 
of the inequality in the number of the sexes. This, however, must 
xitterly fail : for the respective numbers of males and females in these 

13 colonies were as follows — males 381,191, females 374,110. (Hear! 
hear ! ) 

He might also take a particular case. On the estates of Fahie and 
Orton, in St. Christopher's, there were 140 slaves, and the proportion 
of women to men was exactly that most likely to increase the popula- 
tion. But what was the fact, in the course of 12 years — that is, from 
1812 to 1824, at whicli time the estate passed into new hands, and a 
census was taken? Why, out of 140 slaves, only 60 remained alive ; 
and, of these sixty, 3 out of 20 were recruits by purchase, who had 
also perished. 

There was another remarkable case in the island of Trinidad. A 
number of slaves, who had escaped from the United States, landed 
in that island between the years 1815 and 1821, where they were put 
under restraint, and made to work, but without being subjected to the 
whip. And what was the consequence ? In nine years the increase 
was 147, the original number being 774. At the same time, in this 
same colony, the decrease among the slaves subjected to the whip was 
at the rate of 21 per cent. 

This then, said his Lordship, was the irrefragable proof to which he 
had referred. Here was a waste of life by slow torture. Slaves half 

142 General Meeting — Lord Suffield. 

fed were worked beyond their strength, till exhausted nature sunk 
under a weight of cruelty and oppression unparalleled in the history 
of the world. If this were not so, why was the decrease confined to 
sugar colonies, and in them to field Negroes who were subjected to the 
whip ? But, perhaps, it might be desirable to show a little more in 
detail how the system operates. What amount of labour is required, 
and what is the amount of maintenance to support such exertion ? It 
was presumed by the Colonist that the Negro is an indolent animal, 
and that he, like most other natives of hot climates, is disinclined 
to labour. This might be true ; but surely it was no less true that man, 
like all other animals (but man, perhaps, in a superior degree), has 
instinctive feelings, from which he learns to seek that which is salutary, 
and to avoid that which is injurious ; nature warns him, by the aching 
of his limbs, to seek timely repose ; and as, in the hottest climates, 
great exertion is attended with the most danger, so are the natives of 
such climates more especially warned against a degree of labour 
amounting to excess. But these warnings of nature do not suit the 
interest — the short-sighted policy of the planter. The aching of the 
limbs, painful as it is, must be overcome by some powerful incentive 
to noxious exertion, or salutary repose (as requisite to life as food) 
would ensue. Then the cart-whip was resorted to : the happy expedient 
of the planter. The aching of the limbs, the stiffness of the joints, 
were to be overpowered by less endurable pain. That v/hich a man 
will not do for wages, or any other earthly inducement, he was found, 
by experiment, to do to escape torture. How many hours are the slaves, 
was it supposed, compelled to work in the twenty-four ? No less than 
sixteen ; that is, fifteen and a half hours, by the Colonist's own ac- 
count, for seven months in the year ; and eighteen hours during the 
remaining five months, being crop time, making an average of sixteen 
hours throughout the year. 

He would just allude to an assertion, to which it appeared to 
him almost incredible that any countenance should be given by the 
persons of high rank who, he lamented to say, promulgated it : 
namely, that the condition of the British peasant was inferior to that 
of the slave in the West Indies. Let them institute a comparison to 
test the character of this monstrous assertion. The slave was em- 
ployed for sixteen hours a-day in a bui-ning climate, and constantly 
goaded to the maximum of exertion by the application of the cart-whip. 
The English labourer selected his employment, and was always at 
liberty to pause when he pleased. The slaves worked in " gangs :" 
they were arranged in rows, they were all obliged to work with equal 
vigour, and none was permitted to wait for his fellow ; and if any 
dared to stop (even a delicate woman, who might be placed side by 
side with a robust man, with a view to equal labour,) the lash of the 
cart-whip was instantly used to quicken reluctant nature. This was 
the character of the slave labour and its stimulus. What comparison 
then could be instituted between the condition of the English peasant 
and that of the trampled and fettered African ? 

He remembered a case that occurred in Berbice, as detailed in the 
official report of the Protector of slaves. Four females complained of 

General Meeting — Mr. Buxton. 143 

the grievance of being overworked ; and on just grounds — for they 
were allowed but three hours in thirty-six for the enjoyment of rest. 
They were obliged to work by night as well as day. 'What was the 
issue of their complaint ? Did they obtain a remission of labour ? 
Yes ; but it was only to suffer confinement in the stocks during 
four days and nights. Such was one of many atrocities which he could 
enumerate on the evidence of undisputed and indisputable documents. 
The noble Lord proceeded briefly to advert to the insufficient main- 
tenance allotted to the slave, which he held to be, in a considerable mea- 
sure, attributable to the conflicting interests of the proprietors and the 
managers of colonial estates — it being the proprietor's interest to 
secure the longevity of the slaves, and the manager's interest to force 
the largest amount of produce in order to increase the amount of 
his commission. His Lordship, after expressing his sense of the inex- 
pediency of making any further observations when there was a num- 
ber of gentlemen waiting to address the assembly, said that he would 
conclude by declaring, in the words of a high authority, that " such 
were the evils of slavery that they admitted but of one means of 
mitigation — to limit the time of their duration ; and such the efi'ects of 
slavery that they admitted but of one cure — total abolition." (Great 
Applause.) His Lordship then proposed' the following resolution : — 
" That the almost universal voice of the British nation, raised 
in upwards of 6000 Petitions to Parliament, has pronounced the 
slavery in which 800,000 of their fellow-subjects are held to 
be wholly repugnant to the spirit of Christianity, to the claims of 
humanity and justice, and to the principles of the British Constitution; 
and that nine long years have elapsed since Parliament, concurring in 
this sentiment, unanimously resolved to put an early period to the 
guilt and crime of slavery, by restoring its victims to their just rights 
as British subjects ; but that hitherto little has been done to effect 
that object." 

Mr. BUXTON rose to second the resolution. He felt con- 
siderable distress, he said, at being called forward at that parti- 
cular moment, and should have been glad if his noble friend had not 
been restrained by an over-scrupulous sense of delicacy from ex- 
tending that address which contained so many important facts. The 
Society and its supporters were under great obligations to the 
noble Lord ; for it might be that they would have but few friends so 
firm in the momentous hour that was approaching — a period most 
important to the interests of the Negro slave.— He must confess that 
he had been almost alarmed at the commencement of the noble 
Lord's address, in which he glanced at events then passing in the 
political world ; and regretted lest that great meeting should become 
absorbed in the consideration of rights slight and insignificant, com- 
pared with those vital and primary rights which it was their un- 
ceasing object to restore — (cries of " No, no," mingled luith marks 
of approbation, ) He must be permitted to repeat, — and no man had 
a deeper impression of the value of those rights which Englishmen 
were struggling to obtain — that, however important were the political 
privileges in question, still they were comparatively insignificant when 

144 General Meeting — Mr. Buxton. 

weighed in the scale with those that had been wrested from the slaves 
— (cries of " No," and applmise.) He would not obtrude remarks 
that were foreign to the occasion ; but he entreated those who heard 
him only to consider what they were seeking for the Negro. What 
they Avere seeking for him was not the future possession of a para- 
mount interest like that of which their fellow subjects had been de- 
prived, but it was to secure for him the common claim of the whole 
human race — the mastery of his very life and limbs. — But he would 
cry a truce to politics, and proceed to the subject that had called 
them together. 

He must acknowledge that it was with feelings of concern and 
disappointment that he at present addressed them. When before 
them last year he indulged the hope that the period was not 
distant when he should be able to congratulate the opponents of 
slavery, if not upon its extinction, at least upon an act passed for its 
extinction. He hoped that its death-warrant would soon have been 
signed, and that this powerful nation would have shown itself awake 
to what was due to justice, common honesty, and a Christian pro- 
fession, and have renounced and repented of that crime of crimes, 
the permission of Negro slavery. (Applause.) No such tidings, 
however, had he to communicate ; but in their stead he had to report 
one of the most extraordinary events within the range of his recol- 
lection : they had asked for the extinction of slavery, and they had 
got a Committee of the House of Lords ! (Hear, hear.) Now what 
did they want with a Committee of the House of Lords ? Was it to 
solve their doubts as to the excellence or the evil of slavery ? Was 
there any man so stupid as to dare to tell them that they wanted a 
Committee of the Lords to announce that slavery was in very truth, 
and in reality, a crime ? (Ajjplause.) Were they to be informed by 
the advice, counsel, and wisdom of that body, that slavery was a 
blessing in the West Indies, but a curse in every other portion of the 
globe ? Did the British public, at this day, require to be informed as 
to the fact that slavery hardens and corrupts the heart of him who 
is the unfortunate agent in its infliction, and makes him in mind and 
body a slave ? — facts notorious to every person in these realms, always 
excepting the Committee of the House of Lords ! (Hear, hear.) 
Were that Committee called upon to consider whether the Negro be a 
man, or an inferior animal, there would be some sense in their ap- 
pointment : by determining this point, they would have gone a good 
way to settle the question at issue. If it were once established that 
the Negro was not a man, then they would have no right to object to 
his being treated as a marketable commodity. But if, on the other 
hand, he were held to be a man, then assuredly they were not war- 
ranted in treating him as a beast. (Applause.) If the Committee 
had been appointed to enquire whether the European 'or the West 
Indian application of the doctrine, " Do unto all men as you would 
that men should do unto you," were the correct one, he should have 
been glad, because its profound investigations might have discovered 
that they had all been in error, and that the true interpretation was, 
*' Do unto all men, except blacks, as you would that men should do 

General Meeting— Mr. Buxton. 145 

unto you ; but, with regard to the blacks, do with them what you 
please." (Applause.) Had it indeed been a Committee acknowledg- 
ing that slavery was a crime, in the sight of God and of man, and 
enquiring how they might get rid of it in the best, safest, and speediest 
manner, he should have acquiesced in the propriety of its appoint- 
ment ; but a Committee assembled to enquire whether it was decent 
to flog females — whether it was merciful to sever the ties of kindred, 
to tear the wife from the husband and the child from the parent — 
whether it was equitable to submit our fellow-creatures to the torture 
of the cart-whip — whether it accorded with the principles of religion 
to turn the Sabbath into a, market-day — and whether it Vv'as consistent 
with nice morality to despoil a man of his liberty, and burthen his 
limbs with grinding bonds — these assuredly were the last questions on 
which he should deem it necessary to advise with their Lordships. 
(Ajyplause.) He woidd not stop to enter into an examination of the 
composition of that Committee. He had indeed been told that a 
great proportion of its members had a direct interest in the question 
of slavery ; and he would put it to the world whether, if one party 
in a suit were a powerful English noble and the other a poor Negro 
slave, the issue would be doubtful ; was it righteous, was it just, was 
it decent, that the West-Indian planter should sit in judgment on 
West-Indian Slavery ? (Hear.) He would not anticipate the verdict 
which that Committee was likely to pronounce, but he should be sorely 
disappointed if it failed to be a panegyric upon slavery. (Laughter 
and applause.) If there were not among the witnesses that would 
be brought forward some who had seen slavery in all its blessedness, 
and wished to participate in its joys, he should, he repeated, be disap- 
pointed if the verdict did not prove consonant to the views of a noble 
Lord, who once designated the West Indies as a paradise to the Negro 
slaves. He would abstain from dwelling farther on this point : he 
hoped that this intelligent meeting perceived the object of the Com- 
mittee : he hoped they did not misunderstand the motives that had 
led to its formation : it was hardly possible to misinterpret the shouts 
of triumph with v/hich the appointment of it was hailed by the West 
India body, or to conceive that it was not like the similar pro- 
ceedings of that body at a former period — a pretext for delay, and 
nothing else. (Applause.) 

Looking on the formation of this Committee as a calamity to their 
cause, but feeling assured that he was surrounded by those who also 
looked upon it as a calamity to their cause, and who, mourners in 
heart, regarded the measure as the last stroke to the Negro's defeated 
and expiring hopes, — with the sentiments that he entertained, under a 
sense of bitter disappointment, — there was a matter of practical 
business which he wished to bring before the assembly. Were they, 
he demanded to know, all of one mind ? were they, in one word, for 
emancipation ? — for total emancipation ? {Great applause) — for eman- 
cipation with as little delay as honest necessity would allow ? (Re- 
newed apjplause.) These were his doctrines, and he wanted to as- 
certain whether or not they were theirs. (Loud and unanimous 
tokens of approval.) He had been driven into this declaration — he 


146 General Meeting---Mr. Buxton. 

had not always thus expressed himself; but seeing what was passing, 
and what had passed, he was compelled to embrace the conclusion 
that emancipation, total and early emancipation, was now the only 
battle they ought to fight. (Great applause.) There were persons 
among them, to whom he gave every credit for honest intentions, who 
were for the mitigation of slavery. (Cries of " No, no.") Yes, there 
were, he begged to say, such persons among them, but he wished to 
have that question settled. (Hear.) 

Let him not be misunderstood ; he was not disposed to go along 
with some of their friends, who desired to move farther and faster 
than prudence could sanction. He alluded to the placards which 
had recently been affixed to the walls of the metropolis. These were 
not the work of the Anti-Slavery Society ; he said it with the utmost 
respect for the good and brave men with whom they originated ; but it 
was important that it should be known that they were not put forth 
by the Anti-Slavery Society. 

Yet, while making this disclaimer, he would add that he did not 
belong to that party who advocated the adoption of mitigating mea- 
sures ; though at the same time he did not object to mitigation, in 
whole, or in part. He was glad to observe, in the returns of slave 
punishments from Demerara, that there had been a decrease of 40,000 
stripes iii a single year; and, if they could but save one wretch on the 
brink of suffering, he should not think that their exertions had been 
thrown away. But situated as they were, with their friends so feeble 
in parliament, and their enemies so powerful in parliament, he felt 
bound to speak out, and to declare that he would not seek that one 
wretch should be delivered, but that the system — he could not help 
calling it the accursed system ! (Hear) — the system which destroyed 
annually so many thousands — that this system should be abolished 
(applause), and that the victims of British cupidity should be restored, 
not to any peculiarity of privilege, but to those natural rights which 
God in his mercy had given, and which man in his wickedness had 
taken away. (Applause.) Now would mitigation do this ? ( Cries of 
" No, no." ) He really wished this question to be soberly considered 
amongthemselves, asithad been byhim. Wouldmitigation do? ("No, 
no." ) What had they been about for the last thirty or forty years ?— 
Lords, Commons, and People of England 1 Why, mitigating slavery. 
And how had they succeeded? what had they achieved ? (A voice ex- 
claimed, " Nothing.") He would not take that answer, but he would 
apply to those veteran champions of their cause then amongthem, to tell 
what slavery was in former times, and what it was at present. There 
was Mr. William Smith (applause), who delivered speeches against 
slavery before he (Mr. Buxton) was born ; there was their friend the 
Chairman, who was fighting their battles at the same time (applause) ; 
and there was Mr. Macaulay, than whom no man livinghad rendered, or 
could render, their cause more essential service. (Ajoplause.) Hewould 
ask these veteran champions, What were the complaints made by Wil- 
berforce, and Pitt, and Fox, at an earlier day? did not they complain 
of the torturing cart-whip-— of the breaking-up of families— of the 
profanation of the Sabbath— of the absence of religious instruction 

General Meeting--- Mr. Buxton. 147 

— and of the buying and selling of our fellow-creatures ? These were 
the complaints of the advocates of humanity forty years ago ; and 
what were they now ? Precisely the same— not one of all the grievous 
catalogue had been obliterated. (Hear.) 

Nine years ago they witnessed the commencement of a new era. — 
A resolution on the subject of slavery was brought forward in the 
House of Commons, to which Mr. Canning proposed an amendment, 
pledging the legislature to the immediate mitigation and eventual ex- 
tinction of slavery. Not only did he do this, but he traced the course 
that was to be pursued in order to accomplish the object of his 
amendment. He first directed his attention to the difference of sex, and 
recommended that they should abstain from the unseemly and dis- 
gusting practice of flogging females. " This," said Mr. Canning, 
" is the first step, without which you cannot proceed farther." A 
West Indian (Mr. Ellis) declared that this was a change which all 
would concede without hesitation. Well, the nation applauded — 
Parliament approved; but had the obvious, the unobjectionable change 
yet been effected ? (Hear.) Why, not above six months had 
elapsed since that very question of flogging females came before the 
House of Assembly of Jamaica, when there was but one vote for and 
all the rest against the discontinuance of the practice ! (Hear.) 

Then as to religious instruction. Mr. Wilberforce, in 1797, moved for 
the abolition of the slave-trade, and Mr. Ellis said "No — we can't afford 
that — it would be a piece of roguery (laughter) ; but we'll do some- 
thing better — we'll strike at the root^of the system and make all the 
Negroes Christians." (Hear.) A resolution was consequently adopted, 
decisive of a measure for affording to the Negro the blessings of moral 
and religious instruction. This resolution produced the effect it was 
doubtless intended to produce, namely, it lulled the people asleep for 
another ten years, which was, he supposed, the end contemplated by 
the Committee of their important and dignified friends the Lords ; but, 
as to its making the Negroes Christians, they would appreciate its 
eflficiency by the fact that Mr. Ellis, who moved the resolution in 
1797, this same gentleman (now Lord Seaford) said in a place which 
he must not name, on the 17th of April, 1832, that, prior to the 
year 1823, there was not one Christian Negro in the West Indies^ 
but, continued he, " a great change has occurred since that period, 
and they are all Christians now." (Hear.) Now, if he (Mr. 
Buxton) could entertain such a belief — if he could leave this meeting 
with a sense of the truth of this statement, he should feel a degree of 
exultation, at that moment very foreign to his heart. Something of 
importance they had done, but he would disdain to assume the credit 
of doing what had not been done at all. What ! were the Negroes all — 
all Christians ? Let them inspect the symptoms. Shortly after the 
passing of Mr. Canning's resolutions came the tidings of the murder 
of the missionary Smith. Close upon this event followed the destruc- 
tion of the chapels in Barbadoes. Then came the Toleration Act of 
Jamaica in 1826, which was applauded to the skies by the West In- 
dians, as indicating the excess of liberality, but which, when it ar=- 

148 General Meeting— Mr. Buxton. 

rived in England, was, notwithstanding, rejected by three successive 
governments, because, to borrow the language of Mr. Huskisson, " it 
was the violation of that toleration which was the right of every 
English subject." (Applause.) Then came the persecution — the 
trial, conviction, and punishment of Christian Negroes for the crime of 
worshipping their God. (Hear.) He could scarcely expect that per- 
sons unacquainted with the evidence could lend credit to an account 
of these excesses, but he would stake his character on the accuracy 
of the fact that Negroes had been scourged — ay, scourged to the very 
borders of the grave — uncharged with the imputation of any crime 
save that of worshipping their God ! (Hear, hear.) To these enor- 
mities succeeded the persecution of the shepherds of the flock. The 
rehgious public of England had sent these men forward, and the re- 
ligious public must fight their battles in this country. Either with- 
draw your missionaries directly, or insist that justice shall be done to 
them! (Enthusiastic applause.) There could be no tampering 
with the question any longer. (Hear.) The missionaries had borne 
to the utmost pitch of endurance ; and were he of this number he 
would relinquish his post if the whole religious public of England did 
not express their sentiments- —he would not say with violence — but 
with a strength of determination that should produce the effect of 
bringing them justice. (Applause.) But where were the missionaries 
that had been sent to the West Indies? In jail !— he hoped they were 
in jail, for he dreaded lest they had been already sacrificed to the fury 
of those in whose eyes the most capital crime was the attempt to put 
an end to religious thraldom. (Hear.) Where were the slaves — 
their converts 1 Drenched in their own blood. Where were the 
chapels in which they ministered ? Levelled to the earth or consumed 
by fire. Where were the colonial magistrates ? (Hear.) Were they 
present at these scenes? were they active ? Yes, active they were — in 
aiding the conflagration ! {Hear.) And was there no semblance of 
aid in Jamaica for these injured persons.'' They had the " Church 
Union Society" (a laugh) organized for two distinct objects — ^the de- 
molition of places of worship~-and the banishment or murder of the 
missionaries ! (Hear.) As to the Jamaica Free Press— hut he would 
not insult the dignity of the meeting by adverting to its language— he 
would merely say that there had not been in our day such persecu- 
tion as these wise and good men, who pursued their sacred vocation in 
the West India Colonies, had been constrained to endure. Let them 
bear in mind that it was one thing to fight with numbers — with the 
multiplied assurances of victory — on their side, and another and a 
greater thing to stand alone, and stem the torrent of wickedness and 
cruelty, which, whereverit predominated, created misery and desolation. 
He would say that hereafter they must make selections among these 
missionaries. Was there a man whose timid or tender spirit was un- 
equal to the storm of persecution ? Let them send him to the savage- 
let them expose him to the cannibal— let them save his life by direct- 
ing his steps towards the rude haunts of the barbarian. But if there 
were a man of a stiffer, sterner nature-— a man willing to encounter 

Geueixil Meetinf/—-Mr. Buxtoit. 149 

obloquy, torture, and cleath~-him let them reserve for the tender 
mercies of their Christian brethren and fellow countrymen— -the plant- 
ers of Jamaica. (Applause.) 

He had, perhaps, dwelt longer than he ought to have done on the 
subject of religious instruction; but he had protracted his remarks 
because he was invariably met by the argument, " Surely you would 
not emancipate these people ! — wait till they are prepared for freedom 
by the gentle influence of Christianity." He would have waited if 
he had been allowed to wait ; but what said the people of Jamaica to 
" the gentle influence of Christianity ?" They did not dread a torna- 
do half so much. They announced plainly that their dungeons were 
ready, their whips prepared, their scaffolds erected, and these should 
preserve them from the contamination of a " church-going, psalm- 
singing population." Their own language had set forth that " any 
attempt to instil religious instruction into the minds of the Negroes 
was incompatible with slavery." They saw that religious instruction 
and slavery could not co-exist, and they naturally enough clung to 
their system. But were we to be deluded by that ? Was Christian- 
ity to be on this ground withheld from the poor Negroes ? To say 
to them "You shall be free, but only when you cease to be Heathens," 
was the same as saying " You shall not be free at all" — it was, in fact, 
equivalent to the announcement that they should be free when they 
passed a certain barrier which they could not by possibility pass. 
They might just as well promise them liberty on condition of making 
their skin white. Could the Ethiopian change his skin, or the 
leopard his spots ? It were quite as easy a task to accomplish either 
of these changes as to win the consent of the Jamaica planters to 
afford effective religious instrifction to the Negroes. (Applause.) 

What did the whole state of affairs in Jamaica prove ? There, and 
in the other West India colonies, the state of affairs demonstrated that 
slavery was equally detestable for its physical cruelties as for its ran- 
cour against religion. Only look to the mean position in which we 
Christians stood with respect to the Negroes. What had we done 
to those innocent people ? Doomed them to bondage. How had 
they merited such treatment at our hands 1 They had given us no 
provocation — they had been made the victims of crime, and we and. 
our ancestors were the criminals. His noble friend who had just 
addressed them had dwelt on the diminution of numbers. We had 
mowed down these unfortunate beings — we had ground them under 
the iron heel of oppression — and as the climax of our iniquity we had 
not scrupled to shut them out from holiness and heaven, and had 
barred their advances on that path of peace which an all-merciful 
Providence had left wide open for people of every tongue and kindred, 
Jew and Gentile, bond and free. (Applause.) Now, was that ran- 
cour to Christianity necessary in the West Indies ? Yes, it was good 
in a mercantile point of view to keep the Negroes as Heathens, iu 
order that we might keep them as slaves. The planters did not object 
to religion as religion (a laugh), but they were averse to it because 
they were convinced that it and slavery could not go hand in hand. 
They felt bound to take the utmost precautions against the inroads of 

150 General Meeting— Rev. J . W. Cunningham. 

divine truth, lest their imprudence might stir up an insurrection and 
the Bible be found to turn traitor. Now, if slavery and Christianity 
could not co-exist, it vpas incumbent on the people of England to 
stand forth and choose their side— to select between the word of God 
and the capricious cruelty of man. It was nonsense going on for 
ever holding public meetings : it was their duty to demand with united 
voice — whatever administration might chance to be in power — the 
total abolition of slavery as the only way of accomplishing the moral, 
religious, and intellectual improvement of the Negroes. (Applause.) 
When he called to mind the fact adverted to by his noble friend (Lord 
Suffield) that, contrary to the law of nature, in a country friendly to 
the increase of population, it had diminished with such frightful rapidity, 
he would tell all who countenanced such a system that they would 
have to account at a solemn tribunal for the 50,000 murders that had 
been committed through its agency. When he thought of this, and 
of the cart-whip, and the millions of stripes inflicted by that accursed 
instrument, he was at a loss for words to express his feelings. When 
he traced the system through its baleful ramifications, when he con- 
templated this black cluster of crimes, there was but one language, 
the language of divine inspiration, that could convey what passed 
within him. " They are a people robbed and spoiled ; they are all of 
them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison-houses ; they are for 
a prey and no man delivereth, for a spoil and no man restoreth." 
When they looked at the career of affliction of their brother man — for 
after all he was their brother, moulded in the some form, heir to the 
same immortality, and, though in chains and in suffering, on a level 
in the eyes of God with the proudest noble in that Committee which had 
been appointed to sit in judgment upon him (applause) — when he 
viewed him entering life by the desert track of bondage — when he view- 
ed him writhing under the lash of his tormentor — when he saw him con- 
signed to a premature and unregarded grave, having died of slavery 
— and when he thought of the preparation which we, good Christian 
men and women, had enabled him to make for his hereafter, there 
could be but one feeling in his heart, one expression on his lips. — 
*' Great God ! how long, how long, is this iniquity to continue ?" — The 
hon. gentleman sat down amidst loud and general acclamations. 

The Chairman then put the resolution, which was carried unani- 

The Rev. J. W. CUNNINGHAM then came forward ; and loud 
cries were raised for the name of the speaker. This being duly an- 
nounced — the Rev. gentleman began by stating it was no matter of 
surprise to him that his name and countenance should be unknown 
to many in that assembly. From the first moment in which he had 
begun to judge for himself as an English clergyman, he had felt the 
strongest indisposition to connect himself in any way with what he might 
call the topics of diurnal politics. To do so was, in his judgment, to 
descend from the high ground where divine providence had called 
him to move and to act, and to dishonour his profession. And he 
had found the constant effect of such a descent to be — not the pro- 
duction of a religious politician, but of a political priest — not of a 

General Meeting— Rev. J. W. Cunningham. 151 

system of devout policy, but of worldly priestcraft — a system which 
looked mainly to the honour and self-aggrandizement of the offender. 
{Hear and applause.) But it by no means followed that, because a 
minister of religion was not to lend himself to subjects of ephemeral 
and party politics, the mere infusion of a certain quantity of political 
feeling into a moral or religious question should prevent him from 
giving his mind to that question. And he must say that the question 
now before him was infinitely far from a question of mere politics. 
It was, in the highest sense, a question of religion and morals. And 
one of the main injuries which had been inflicted upon it was — that it 
had not been sufficiently argued upon the wide basis of the gospel of 
Christ. Every argument of his hon. friend, Mr. Buxton, had touched 
some chord within him. But, when he passed from time to eternity, 
and enquired into the manner in which we had dealt with the im- 
mortal souls of the Negroes, the reasoning was irresistible ; and he 
felt that a man acting on such principles must, in the end, subdue 
all enemies before him. {Hear and applause.) 

When he had agreed to take any pai't in the proceedings of the 
day, he had taken time to consider to what party in that assembly he 
could hope to be of any use — and he had come to the conclusion to 
seek out, if it were possible to find him, any one man who was more 
ignorant than himself on the subject of slavery, and address himself 
to that single man — and to such he meant especially to speak. 

The resolution he had to propose was in the following terms : — 
"That it is the duty of the Government and Parliament of this country 
to proceed without any farther delay to fulfil their pledge, and to 
adopt forthwith the necessary measures for the total abolition of 
slavery throughout the British dominions ; it being now unquestion- 
able that it is only by the interposition of parliament any hope can be 
entertained of peaceably terminating its unnumbered evils, or any 
security afforded against the recurrence of those bloody and calami- 
tous scenes which have recently afflicted Jamaica." 

As he found that Dr. Lushington was to second this motion, who 
was, perhaps, of all men the best qualified to enter into the details of 
the question — and who would, perhaps, be so kind as to begin by tell- 
ing us who were the " Government" referred to in the motion, and 
where the " P arliajnent" referred to would be in a few days — {hear 
and laughter) — he would not intrude upon subjects of which he was 
comparatively so ignorant. This, however, he would say, that he had 
little dependence, as to this work, on any Parliament. He was dis- 
posed to look higher, and rest his confidence upon the God and Father 
of all nations — and upon the accuracy of that immutable maxim — 
" truth is great and must prevail." 

In order, however, to account for his little reliance upon Parlia- 
ment, and to give some instruction to that portion of his audience who 
might not have had the privilege, if a gentleman, of roasting under 
the gallery of the House of Commons, or, if a lady, of being smoke- 
dried in its chimney, he would endeavour to give them a slight sketch 
of what he saw and heard there on the occasion of the last motion 
made by Mr. Buxton for the extinction of slavery. The very instant 

152 General Meetmg—Rev. J. W, Cunningham. 

his honourable friend got up, a great hubbub arose— not the 
hubbub of gratitude and applause which had been heard to-day, 
but a West Indian hubbub (laughter) — for, as Mr. Wilberforce 
once said in Parliament on a similar occasion, " every animal has its 
cry" (hear and laughter), and there is a West Indian cry, with which 
Mr. Wilberforce was too familiar — and the object of that hubbub was, 
at once, and by a summary process, to put down Mr. Buxton. He 
did assure the meeting that, among the ten thousand reasons for send- 
ing his honourable friend to parliament, there were two not to be for- 
gotten, that he was at least six feet high, and had a voice like a lion ; 
for a feebler man or a feebler voice was no match for the West Indian 
legislators. (Hear and laughter.) After Mr. Buxton had spoken, a 
gentleman arose, who began by a beautiful descant upon the blessings 
of general liberty, and ended by an equally beautiful descant on the 
evils of individual liberty {laughter) — general liberty, according 
to this parliamentary orator, being the very best thing in the world, 
and individual liberty the worst. Like the early French philanthro- 
pist, whose benevolence was a circumference without a centre, em- 
bracing the whole world in its arms, but not caring a rush for any 
one man of whom it was composed. {Laughter.) Having gone 
through this beautiful descant, and endeavoured, as far as in him lay, 
to bind every existing evil upon the slaves, and to establish the fact of 
their present happiness, by their privilege to dance and get drunk on 
a Sunday, the honourable member finished, as he had began, by in- 
sisting loudly on his own intense hatred to slavery, his own intense 
attachment to the slaves, and his own burning desires for the promo- 
tion of religion and morality. It was a singular fact, that, touch any 
such advocate, at any one moment, in any one place, with the spear 
of Ithuriel, he was sure to start up a West Indian proprietor or agent. 
It was rare, indeed, to find a man who wa§ not one of these, or who 
had not some private interest to secure, who was the parliamentary 
advocate of West Indian slavery. {Hear.) After this gentleman 
arose another, the possessor of £50,000 or 60,000 a year, and of 
course therefore, by personal experience, a capital judge of the 
trials of starving and naked men and women ; and, after paying 
a high compliment to Mr. Buxton (not such a one as I find in a 
Jamaica newspaper in my hand — " that double, treble, fool, ass, Bux- 
ton, and his crew") but a real compliment to his heart, though at the ex- 
pense of his head {laughter), calling him at once the most tender and 
credulous of human beings — (how otherwise could Mr. Buxton have 
given credit to the facts he had so often stated ?) He then adverted to 
flogging ; but he much questioned whether the whip was ever used 
for field labour. And, as for flogging women, that was quite impos- 
sible. {Laughter.) What he wished was that a Committee, just such 
a Committee by the bye as the Government had recently been per- 
suaded to appoint, should be appointed to examine into these very 
doubtful facts of the honourable member. And let it be remembered 
that the object of that Committee was not, as his honourable friend 
had stated, to enquire "whether flogging was a blessing;" who could 
doubt that ? but '' whether any man, woman, or child, had ever been 


General Meeiin^—Rev. J. W. Cunningham. 153 

flogged?" After this gentleman arose a third, a cold-blooded lawyer-*- 
he meant no reflections, as he need not look far to find lawyers, not 
merely with clear heads, but warm hearty— who took upon himself to 
prove that all the improvements suggested by the Order in Council 
had been effected in the Colonies. And the manner in which he ac- 
ccanplished it was somewhat ingenious— he showed, or rather asserted, 
that, in one island, they had abolished flogging females ; in another, the 
Sunday market; in another, had admitted slave evidence or encouraged 
marriage ; and, by a figure of speech not unknown to rhetoricians of 
a certain order, went on to infer, this being the case, that all the is- 
lands had adopted all the improvements which had been suggested to 
them. Such was the logic of the House of Commons — of the Parlia- 
ment, on which they were to rely. {Laughter.) 

But he was afraid of appearing to trifle with this question. He 
would, therefore, now briefly advert to the notorious decision of the 
planters of Trinidad — that Slavery and Christianity were incompatible I 
Had they stopped short at the mere enunciation of this abstract 
truth? Far from it — the premises were--— ^'Slavery and Christianity are 
incompatible." But what was the conclusion ? " Therefore, get rid of 
Christianity." He desired to speak reverently ; but, to his mind, that 
decisionwas to be paralleled only bythat of the Jews — "saveBarabbas," 
and " crucify Christ." Nothing, as far as he could see, could be more 
indefinable than the conduct of many of the leading authorities of 
Jamaica in the late insurrection. Magistrates had headed the parties 
to destroy the places of religious worship. It might come from him 
with better grace, as belonging to a body of persons not the immediate 
object of attack in this instance — he meant the ministers of the 
Church of England — but he desired on all general questions to take 
the broad, common, scriptural ground of our common Christianity, 
of the religion of truth and love, and he felt it right to say that re- 
ligion wiMS^ have " free course" in the West Indian Islands, and every 
minister of religion. Churchman and Dissenter, must have full and free 
liberty to publish the gospel of Christ to every sinful, miserable crea- 
ture who was ignorant of it. Was it possible for Christians in Eng- 
land to come to the decision so universally adopted in the 'We&t 
Indies — that, if Christianity and slavery come into competition, 
slavery was to be preferred, and Christianity persecuted ? What had 
the two systems done to the slave population ? Slavery fastens on the 
manacles of the slave— Christianity dissolves and destroys them. 
Slavery starves the Negro— 'Christianity feeds him. Slavery strips the 
Negro naked— Christianity clothes him. Slavery drives the iron of 
affliction and ignorance into his soul— Christianity gives him the 
'-' glorious liberty of the children of God." {Great applause.) Such 
was the comparison ; and let the people of England decide whether 
slavery should survive, and Christianity be extinguished, in that 
country of guilt an-d wretchedness. His honourable friend, Mr. Bux- 
ton, had called on the ministers of religion to " adopt effectual mea- 
sures" for establishing the rights of the gospel in the West Indian 
islands. What measures did he mean 1 They were here to-day pue- 
pared for the adoption of all measures which were pacific, constitu- 


154 General Meeting— Dr. Lushington. 

tional, and scriptural. And he, for one, was ready to be here to-morrow, 
and the next day, and the next, till the great object was accomplished. 
But they must be directed what to do, so as not to let the feelings 
roused by this meeting evaporate in mere words. 

There were two classes to whom, in conclusion, he would say a few 
words. Were there those present who regarded the question merely 
as a question of benevolence ? Then, let them look at the fact stated 
by Mr. Buxton— that, in 11 years, there had been a destruction of 
52,000 slaves ; and let them remember that the extinction of these 
52,000 slaves was a small part of the evil. The population ought not 
only not to have diminished by 52,000, but to have increased at the 
rate of doubling in 25 years. How many lives, then, had been de- 
stroyed in anticipation ? How many Negroes had been, as it were, 
stifled in the birth ? Of what torrents of Negro blood had slavery 
been guilty? Nothing, as he thought, could be more dreadful^ 
aiFecting, and awful than the spirit of many of the planters as to the 
Negro population. Not satisfied to exclude them from all the privi- 
leges of this life, they wished, if it were possible, to legislate for another, 
and cut them off from all the privileges of eternity. And it was to 
this point he wished to address his concluding remarks. Had the re- 
ligious part of the community even approached to the discharge of their 
duty as to this momentous question? Was the complaint of his 
honourable friend Mr. Buxton well grounded— that, both in and out 
of the House of Commons, they had failed him ? If so, did 
they recollect that, while slavery remained, Christianity could make 
no real progress among slaves, or among the whites by whom they were 
controlled? All that the Negroes knew of Christianity they were left 
in many instances to learn from the planters — from apostles, that is, 
who came to them with a whip in one hand and a chain in the other. 
Were such teachers likely to recommend the gospel of the meek and 
lowly Jesus ? Let Christians then especially arise to the discharge of 
their duty — let the Negroes look at Christianity through a right 
medium— let them see, in every professor of the gospel, a man whose 
first object it Avas to teach the ignorant, comfort the miserable, and 
liberate the enslaved. {Cheers.) 

Dr. LUSHINGTON rose to second the resolution proposed by the 
Rev. Gentleman who had preceded him. He felt it incumbent on 
him to express his warm congratulations, that, at a time when a great 
national question was so strongly bearing upon the attention and de- 
votion of the public — at a time when the household fire of liberty 
was burning in every British bosom — so numerous, so respectable a 
meeting had withdrawn itself from the absorbing topic of domestic 
rights, to devise means for the extinction of that oppression which, 
while it had reduced tens of thousands to degradation, had likewise 
accumulated a fearful load of guilt on the head of the oppressor. He 
had ever said that the condition of the slave was most deplorable, 
both as to his mind and his body. He had always considered hira 
the innocent victim of the most iniquitous system of oppression that 
had ever prevailed, and which, for the sake of obtaining sordid ad- 
vantages, had continued to stain the character of England for 200 

General Meeting--- Dr. Lushing ton. \55 

years. But it was for the benefit of the master, as well as the 
redemption of the slave, that he appeared as a humble soldier in the 
sacred cause ; and he besought those who heard him to reflect that, 
if at that very hour there were hundreds of thousands in this country 
so excited as to be ready to sacrifice life — fortune — all that was dear 
to them, to obtain what they conceived to be a security for their po- 
litical liberties ; he entreated them to bear in mind what this political 
liberty was, compared to the personal freedom denied to the slave. 
What was the question of a form of government, in comparison with 
the interest that should be excited in the mind of every reflecting 
man by the question of whether a fellow-creature should be allowed 
the right of enjoying that domestic security without which life itself 
became a burthen (applause) — whether he might protect the wife of 
his afi'ections from the degrading lash — whether he might preserve in- 
violate the chastity of his daughter — whether he might retain the son 
of his hopes under his paternal care, to mould his character as a man, 
and confirm him in habits of obedience to his God ? 

The resolution before the meeting set forth the necessity of Parlia- 
ment redeeming its pledge, and taking effective measures for the abo- 
lition of slavery. He would not detain them many minutes in demon- 
strating the necessity of obtaining the abolition of slavery, contrasted 
with a measure of mitigation. He had always contended that the 
existing laws relating to the treatment of slaves mitigated the system 
to a certain extent, only on the condition that the remaining part should 
be perpetuated. They might as well take a thief, condemned to the 
gallows for an offence of the greatest magnitude, and tell him they 
would allow him to perpetrate any misdeed, however atrocious, pro- 
vided only that he did not overstep a line which they had drawn. The 
Almighty had invested man with no such powers'of moral compromise. 
He had laid down an immutable line of truth and justice, and had ex- 
plicitly pointed out where they wei'e to act and where they were to 
forbear. It was not permitted them to say " We shall give so much 
to God and so much to Mammon." 

While reflecting on this subject, he had occasion to examine the 
laws and the records of the legal proceedings of the West India Islands, 
and had directed his attention to the Act passed by the Jamaica Legis- 
lature in 1831, which has been held up by the Committee of West 
Indian proprietors in London as the great prototype of the mercy, 
justice, and protection which they are desirous to extend to the slave 
population of their estates. This act had been framed by cer- 
tain persons, to establish a system calculated to deceive the people of 
England, and not to dispense mercy to the slave. He would state to 
the meeting a few of the provisions of this law, that they might see the 
spirit in which it had been framed. For instance, it was provided that 
if a slave should strike or offer violence to a white man, he should be 
punished with death, or some lesser punishment according to the dis- 
cretion of the court, unless he acted under his master's orders, or for 
the defence of his master's person or property. Now, what would 
any person in this country think of such a law and its exceptions — a 
law through which a man might be punished with death for the de- 

156 General Meeting — Dr. Lushingi&n. 

fence of his own life — of his dearest connexions — for protecting hh 
wife or his child — while he was privileged in resorting to violence when 
under his master's orders, or in defending his person or goods ] {Hear.) 
The slave must submit unresistingly to every scorn — to every insult — 
to every injury : whatever might betide himself, not a muscle must 
he move against his white lord. But mark — to atone for this restric- 
tion, he was empowered to hazard life and limb at his gentle master's 
mandate — for the safety of his beloved person, and the security of his 
bales and his casks. Mark the distinction ! (Hear, hear.) He could 
not have believed, but for the testimony of his eyes, that the world had 
produced men so blind to every sense of justice, so destitute of com- 
mon feeling, as the framers of this law ; and yet this was a law enacted 
within one year from the present hour by Christian men, boasting to 
be Englishmen, and followers of Clirist. (Hear^ hear.) 

But this was not all. He would specify some of the compassionate 
regulations of this humane Code. By the clause for the limitation of 
slave-punishment it was enacted, that in the absence of the owner, 
attorney, or overseer, any person having charge of the Negroes might 
-inflict ten lashes without being liable to undergo consequent investiga- 
tion — so that any subordinate person left in charge of the slaves had 
full leave and liberty to punish to this extent according to his pleasure. 
But this power was nothing to that of the owner, attorney, or overseer. 
Each of these parties, when on the spot, for any cause, or for no cause 
beyond his personal whim or caprice, and without being liable to 
be called to any account, might inflict thirty-nine lashes of the cart- 
whip, and the punishment might be repeated after a short interval. 
Had it not been set forth in the Act, he could not have given credence 
to the legalized existence of powers so revolting — even after the refusal 
of religious instruction to the Negro. But, when once men abandoned 
the straight forward course prescribed by nature and morality, the un- 
derstanding became mystified, they viewed their conduct only through 
their interests, and grew callous to the indignation which oppression, in 
all its gradations, awakens in the generous and unsophisticated heart- 
Yet the answer to all that the Government had said, in its interces- 
sion for the Negroes, to the Colonial Assemblies, in substance, is, that 
they were most anxious to do their duty ; and that, by way of a 
remedy for every possible injury, with a view to compensate for all 
defects in the legislature, the Colonists had established a Council of 
Protection, whose duty it was to admininster justice between the 
slave and the master, and which is vested with authority to punish 
the party who unduly inflicted sufferings on the unfortunate slave. 
The report of the Committee of the West India body represented this 
Court as pledged to the strict performance of its duty. But, at 
the very period when this announcement was made, there appeared 
another West Indian report, which illustrated very strikingly the kind 
of protection that was afforded by this Council, namely, the case of 
Mr. Jackson, the Custos or Senior Magistrate of Port Royal in Ja- 
maica, and two of his female slaves. The facts are given in a despatch 
from Lord Goderich to the Earl of Belmore, dated Nov. 1, 1831. 
[Dr, Lushington's statement of this case was given in language so 

General Meeting — Dr. Lushing ton. 157 

forcible and affecting that many of the audience shed tears, and the 
ladies wept, many of them audibly ; but this part of his speech has 
been so imperfectly repoi'ted that we adopt the following narrative of 
the facts from the Official Despatch of Lord Goderich.] 

" It appears that the elder of these slaves was the mother of the 
younger, and that they had both passed their lives in domestic ser- 
vice, and without having been employed in field labour. A dialogue 
seems to have taken place between Mrs. Jackson and one of her 
children and these women, in which it may be inferred that the slaves 
exhibited some violence of demeanour, attended with language unbe- 
coming the relation in which they stood to Mrs. Jackson. It is not 
without a painful sense of the degrading light in which the narrative 
exhibits a lady in Mrs. Jackson's rank of life, that I proceed with it. 
She with her own hands took a * supplejack' and flogged the younger 
slave with it till the instrument broke. The flogging was then re- 
newed with a whip. On this the mother broke out in violent remon- 
strances, when Mrs. Jackson (in terms which I will not venture to 
transcribe or to characterize) threatened to punish her. In her renewed 
remonstrance the mother stated that her mistress * had flogged her 
before Christmas, had laid her down and flogged her by the driver.' 
The daughter is said to have then been placed in the corner of the room 
to stand up the whole day. The mother was placed in the stocks, a.nd 
kept there ' two or three weeks, night and day.' At the end of that 
time she was carried to the other stocks, in a place called the hot-house, 
where she was kept * for about two or three weeks,' the daughter 
being placed in those stocks from which her mother had been removed. 
For no less than four months these unfortunate women, though bred 
as domestics, were employed in the field, and, when not in the field, 
were confined in the stocks ; and both the labour and the confine- 
ment were so arranged that, during the whole period of the punish- 
ment, they should have no opportunity of speaking to each other. 
This protracted confinement in the stocks appears to have been pecu- 
liarly strict, and even the Sundays were passed in this dreadful 
situation. Incredible as it might appear, the mother, even while 
labouring under fever and ague, was still kept in the stocks. She 
had lived for twenty-two years in the service of the family by whom 
she was thus treated. 

" The younger female, in her evidence, describes herself as having 
been beaten with a strap by the hands of Mr. Jackson himself; as 
having then been flogged by Mr. Jackson's orders with a new cat; as 
having been confined in stocks so narro was to wound her feet ; as 
having been kept there at night for more than six weeks or two months. 
During her labours in the field, she states her arms, neck, and back, 
were blistered ; that, on complaint being made of this to Mr. Jackson, 
he answered merely by a brutal oath, and that he proceeded to send 
for scissars, with a view to cut off" her hair, to compel her to remove 
from her head, and place round her neck, a handkerchief, which was 
the only defence from the sun." 

It appeared, from the evidence referred to by Viscount Goderich, 
that the cruel treatment of these unfortunate females, and their nightly 
confinement in the stocks, were continued for very nearly six months, 

158 General Meeting — Dr. Lushington. 

namely, from the middle of January to the 4th, of June, 1831. At 
the latter period, a complaint having been preferred to Dr. Palmer, a 
neighbouring magistrate, that gentleman interfered, and addressed a 
letter to Mr. Jackson to apprise him of the measures which he pro- 
posed to take for investigating the affair. Upon this, Mr. Jackson 
applied to Mr. Campbell Jackson, his own brother, who was also in 
the Commission of the peace, to undertake the investigation of the 
complaint, with a view to screen himself, of course, from the scrutiny 
of an independent enquirer; and Mr. C. Jackson accordingly summoned 
the two slaves before him. 

This, continued Dr. Lushington, was the commencement of West In- 
dian justice, and its progress was worthy of such a commencement. 
Without detaining the meeting by going over all the details of the 
proceedings, he would briefly state that the brother of the accused 
party having pronounced the complaints of the two slaves, in re- 
gard to the treatment above described, to be " frivolous and vexa- 
tious," hurried the case, in defiance of the remonstrances of Dr. 
Palmer (who had appealed to the Governor) into the hands of a 
" Council of Protection" (as it was called), " every member of which 
virtually owed his appointment to the magistracy to the recommen- 
dation of the Custos whose conduct they were required to investi- 
gate." And what was the award of this " Council of Protection I," 
It was (to use again the words of the Colonial Secretary) " that 
there were not sufficient grounds for a prosecution ; that neither the 
letter nor the spirit of the law had been infringed." {Cries of shame !) 
Now he (Dr. Lushington) believed that the Council had arrived at a 
true decision. (Hear.) As a living man, destined to answer before 
the throne of everlasting justice, he believed that the statute was not 
framed either in the letter or spirit of equity ; he believed that it was 
framed not for the protection of the slave from cruelty, not to serve 
as a shield against oppression, but as a means to perpetrate all the 
horrible excesses of arbitrary will— to give full scope to the power 
and authority of the master, uncontrolled by responsibility— without 
the fear of incurring the possibility of punishment for the outrages 
offered by his distempered passions to the unfortunate beings whom 
Providence had, for a season, committed to his charge. (Applause.) 
But the decision of the Council of Protection went on to state " that^ 
in cases of confinement, the duration of the punishment was not 
limited by law." Was that justice 1 Did that show the spirit of 
amelioration— of improvement of the condition of the slave, which 
the colonist had so often promised, and which that very Act itself 
affected to give? Thus it appeared that the limitation of imprisonment 
was to be determined only by the will of the master ; for the Council 
added to their decision that the owner was bound only to show that 
his slave had a sufficiency of necessary support during the time. The 
Council, indeed, did admit that, though the language used by the 
slaves was bad, " it would have been desirable that a less protracted 
punishment had been resorted to by the parties accused, or that they, 
on finding confinement had not the effect intended, had brought the 
slaves to trial." " Here," said Lord Goderich, in his notice of the 
case,." was a mother, for the alleged offence of intemperate language, . 

General Meeting — Dr. Lushington. 159 

compelled to witness the scourging of her daughter." Who was there, 
he begged to ask, in that assembly— was there a mother present who 
could see her daughter violently scourged before her face and remain 
silent ? The feelings of human nature were outraged by the sight, 
and that feeling which was above all the tenderest and strongest- 
maternal attachment. 

The rest of the melancholy tale was told in a few words. After the 
decision of the " Council of Protection," the Attorney-General, by 
order of the Governor, preferred a bill of indictment against Jackson 
and his wife to the Grand Jury, which, as might be expected, was ig- 
nored, and thus the parties screened from all legal punishment. 

Lord Goderich did what he could to mark his sense of this atrocious 
case : he directed that the two Jacksons should be forthwith dismissed 
from the magistracy ; and desired the Governor, unless some local 
enactment existed to prevent such a measure, to instruct the Attorney- 
General to proceed in the case by a criminal information.* 

But what he (Dr. Lushington) wanted to know was, the condition 
of the poor slaves, the wretched mother and daughter, thus left in 
the power of an irritated man and a merciless woman, who could of 
course wreak their anger and disappointment upon them Avith impu- 
nity ? The feelings of this man and woman (they scarcely deserved 
the name) were pretty well evinced as to what they could do, in the 
manner in which they had already punished these two poor wretches ; 
for the mother and daughter were kept apart, and not allowed to see 
each other during the whole period of their confinement. Could 
they, then, hope for much better treatment in future ? And, since the 
law allowed the owner to inflict thirty-nine lashes of the cart-whip on 
his slave without investigation, what day could they say, " We are 
safe, and free from persecution ?" But the cruelty of Jackson was not 
confined to the imprisonment of these creatures. It was further shown 
in the brutal treatment of the younger slave, while suflPering from 
the eflfects of a scorching sun, in the field, as described in Lord 
Goderich's letter. 

[Here the learned gentleman stated some of the revolting facts of 
the case, by which the audience were powerfully aflPected.] 

And, with such facts before him, was he not justified in saying that 
neither the letter, nor spirit, nor practice of the law, was ever in- 
tended to prevent cruelty? Was he not justified in saying that the 
monstrous evils which had grown up, under this odious system, required 
immediate redress, and that there was no hope of any effectual mea- 
sure of that kind but from the interference of the Legislature at 
home ? Was there any one, he would not say in that assembly, but 
in all England, so great a dolt as to expect it from the legislature of 
Jamaica, when he knew that the representative of that Island in 

* The decisive conduct of Lord Goderich in regard to this flagrant affair, as 
well as the entire spirit and tenor of his official despatch on the subject, claims 
our most unqualified respect and applause. We regret that we cannot find 
room here for his Lordship's stringent and unanswerable observations on the whole 
case ; but a full statement of the facts, with his Lordship's comments, will be 
found in the " Anti-Slavery Record" for June, 1832. 

160 General Meeting— Dr. Lushington. 

this country [Mr. Burge] had publicly, in the hearing of persons now 
present, and to the disgust of the House of Commons, asserted the 
claim of the owner to his slave as to his freehold ? Surely those 
who asserted that man had property in the life and liberty of his 
fellow-man were not the parties to whom should be left the task of 
legislating for any real amelioration of his condition. 

He would now say a word as to the constitution of the Committee 
appointed by the House of Lords on this subject; and he must ob- 
serve that, of all the ingenious subterfuges to which detected guilt had 
ever had recourse for obtaining a temporary respite, that Committee — 
that curious measure — that ingenious devices-was inferior to none. 
He unfortunately belonged to the law, and he had got, somehow or 
another, he knew not how, it might be perhaps from his legal reading, 
or from the study of moral and religious works, that old prejudice, 
that a man who was to be judge in a case ought not to have any 
interest in the matter on which he was to decide. But the Committee 
of the House of Lords seemed to be formed upon the principle that 
men should be selected as judges just in proportion to the interest 
they had in the matter before them ; and, in order to let the meeting 
see this, he would read to them the names of some of that Committee. 
There were among its members as follows — the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, a slave-owner; the Earl of Harewood, a slave-owner; Lord 
St. Vincent, a slave-owner; Lord Combermere, a slave-owner; Lord 
Howard De Walden, a slave-owner ; Lord Holland, a slave-owner 
(hear, hear) ; the Marquis of Sligo, a slave-owner ; and not the son 
only, but the father — we had now Lord Seaford, a slave-owner. If 
he did not declare to the meeting that he had no very high respect 
for a Committee of the House of Lords, let it not be supposed that 
he had not formed a very strong opinion on that subject ; however, to 
prevent any mistake, if those present would not repeat it, he would 
tell them that he had no respect for that Committee. (Cheers and 

But could they imagine the people of England to be such dolts as 
to have one particle of confidence in a body so constituted 1 He must 
say that, with the exception of Lord Suffield, there was not one mem- 
ber of that body who had ever distinctly pledged himself to the 
total abolition of slavery. (Hear.) There was indeed upon the 
Committee the name of another Lord who. was as friendly to the un- 
happy Negroes as a man could be who thought that it was enough 
to make their chains lighter and their pains less grievous, but who 
would not pledge himself unqualifiedly to support their j ust claims to 
freedom — he meant Lord Goderich. (Hear, hear.) He regretted 
deeply that that noble Lord was not able to carry with him into his 
retirement the consolation that, whilst his office gave him the power 
(as it imposed upon him the duty), he had advised his Majesty to re- 
commend to parliament a measure for the total and speedy extinction 
of that diabolical system. {Cheers.) Let him add, that if ministers, 
whoever they should be, would not endeavour to do their duty to God 
and man on this great question, he would, to the extent of his humble 
abilities, never flinch from declaring his sentiments, without reference 
to party. 

General Meeting — Dr. Lushington. 161 

He believed that there were men on the Lords' Committee who 
were utterly ignorant on the subject— men who did think that great 
progress had been made in the religious instruction of the slaves in 
our colonies, and that by the Church of England ; and who also be- 
lieved that, though the planters so much disliked the Baptists and 
Wesleyans, they would encourage the services of the Church of Eng- 
land. But he believed that those very planters would detest the 
Church of England as cordially and sincerely as they did the Baptists 
or Wesleyans, if they did not think that the clergy of that church 
were not very earnest, or pains-taking, in the spread of Christianity 
among the slaves. The subscriptions which had been made by the 
planters for the erection of churches in the West Indies were 
deemed a proof of their disposition, by means of the Church of Eng- 
land, to promote religious instruction there ; but he laid little stress 
upon that fact ; and when he knew how popular one reverend member 
of that church (the Rev. Mr. Bridges), the libeller of Mr. Wilberforce 
and the tyrant of his own slaves, was among them, — he was convinced 
that it was only if the planters could have men of the Church of Eng- 
land of that stamp that they would be disposed to give them en- 
couragement. (Hear.) The Church of England, he must say, had 
for a century and a half been grossly negligent in giving instruction 
to the slave population of our colonies. Whatever was done in that 
way (and much had been done for the dissemination of Christianity 
amongst the slaves) was done, not by the Church of England, but by 
the Moravians, Baptists and Wesleyans. He was aware that he laid 
himself open to misrepresentation in this matter, but this was a time 
at which the truth ought not to be concealed. 

As to the late rebellion in Jamaica, he would not say that it had 
been directly incited by white men, or caused by their rebellious 
example. It was enough to say that rebellion was the natural 
and inevitable consequence of slavery : and he believed that as long 
as the condition of the slave remained as it was — as long as the cart- 
whip was used as the stimulus to labour — as long as the parent might 
be separated from his wife or child at the caprice of his owner — so 
long, if man in those colonies was regulated by the common im- 
pulses of our nature, would the slave owner be without security 
against the recurrence of rebellion. The late rebellion had been pro- 
ductive of great loss of life at the moment, and hundreds were 
afterwards sacrificed on account of it ; but he should like to know 
in what form an indictment would be drawn up against a slave for 
having taken part in that rebellion. If it were drawn up in this 
country, it would be something in this shape : — That he (the slave), 
being instigated by the devil, had in the first instance been taken from 
his home, his friends, and his country ; that he had been fettered 
and brought a prisoner across the seas to the West Indies, and there 
by the interchange of a little money, between those who brought 
him and those who received him, he was condemned to labour for 
life for a man to whom he had never done any injury; and that he 
had (by the same instigation of the devil) endeavoured to re- 
lease himself from that wretched, condition ! The guilt of the Negro 


162 General Meeting — Dr. Lushington. 

consisted, in fact, in his seeking to recover that freedom which was his 
inalienable right. Then, as to his punishment, he would ask, could 
any man, who had any sense of justice, say that he deserved death 
who had done this without having violated any one law of humanity ? 
He must contend that those who condemned a slave to death, on such 
grounds, would draw down upon themselves the damning guilt of 
taking away an innocent life. The utmost severity of the law had 
been exercised upon hundreds of individuals whom no man of common 
sense or justice could pronounce guilty of a criminal act. 

The honourable and learned gentleman then proceeded to contend 
fhat the only effectual way of putting an end to the evils of slavery 
was the total abolition of slavery itself. The question of profit or 
loss, which might be urged as a ground for the continuance of slavery, 
he regarded as absurd and wicked ; no man had a right, he contended, 
for any acquisition of wealth to violate the laws of God and nature. 
In England, even in cases where guilt was certain, there were many 
who strongly disapproved of taking away life, though forfeited according 
to penal law ; but, in the West Indies, sentence of death was inflicted 
on those who in their efforts to gain freedom did not violate a single 
principle of morality. 

Before he sat down he would beg to impress upon the Meeting (and 
he would beg of them to impress it on their friends) the necessity, in 
every future Election, of urging on those who came forward as candi- 
dates that they could hope for no favour or confidence from the 
electors, unless they gave a most deliberate, a most explicit, pledge to 
support the immediate and total abolition of slavery. {Applause.')' 
Let them not be satisfied with ambiguous answers or vague promises 
of considering the subject; but let them bind down every individual 
whom they sent to parliament by the strongest, the fullest, and the 
most explicit pledge, that he would vote for total and speedy abolition. 
If this were done, the final settlement of that question could be no 
longer delayed, but without this assurance all governments would be 
alike unable to afford them co-operation. Let them recollect that the 
West Indian body, to whom they were opposed, were a strong and 
powerful body, an embattled phalanx, bound together by what they 
considered their common interests, the strongest bond of union, and 
that nothing but the most united and energetic efforts of the people of 
this country could be sufficient to overcome the opposition of that 
body. Earnestly did he implore the people to make those exertions. 
Let them recollect that, in thus acting, they served the cause of Him 
who made them ; that their great object was to rescue 800,000 of 
their fellow-subjects from slavery, and to change, as he might call it, 
the still worse condition of their unhappy owners. {Loud Applause.^ 

The Resolution was put and carried unanimously. 

Mr. WILLIAM SMITH, before he proceeded to propose the resolu- 
tion entrusted to him, would endeavour to set the meeting right with 
regard to a point which had been adverted to. He would assert on 
behalf of that revered man, Mr. Wilberforce, and of those who had 
acted with him, that it could not be justly said they had as yet 
achieved nothing. On the contrary, he thought he could point 

General Meeting — Mr. Smith. 163 

out essential services which they had rendered in the early stages 
of the slavery question. In every great enterprise — to every large 
army — there must be pioneers ; and neither Hannibal nor Buona- 
parte could have scaled the precipitous Alps w^ithout having as- 
sistance of this class to clear their way. When they commenced 
their efforts on behalf of the injured Africans, an attempt was made, 
under the auspices of some of the slave-traders of Liverpool, to deny 
to the Negro the claims of humanity. They actually denied that they 
were men ! {hear, hear) ; and one of the reasons assigned, in support 
of their opinion, was, that the murder of a slave in Barbadoes Was 
punishable only by a fine of £11. 5s. Od. Wilberforce and his 
friends (among whom the name of Clarkson should ever be recorded 
with distinguished honour and gratitude) succeeded in driving out of 
the field these first and most disgraceful of the opponents of negro 
emancipation. And at no distant period (only thirty years ago) 
Lord Seaforth, then Governor-General of Barbadoes, desired the 
Attorney-General of that island to introduce a bill into its legislative 
assembly to make the wilful killing of a slave — murder. Nor was this 
bill proposed as an act of justice, but because a man in the garb of 
a soldier — a militia-man — had wantonly put to death a negro woman 
by a thrust of his bayonet. He was tried and found guilty, with 
the salvo ^' if the killing of a slave constituted legally a murder." 
Under these circumstances the Attorney-General applied for the Act, 
and declared" it to be impossible to refuse it, for, as the law stood, it 
was (as he expressed it) in the power of any planter to metamorphose 
his dwelling into a slaughter-house for human beings." Li an- 
swer to this officer, a gentleman got up, and, designating the 
proposition as an insult to the colony, moved, and successfully, its 
rejection. Attention having been called to the circumstances in this 
country, the wilful slaying of a negro was soon after legislatively pro- 
nounced to be murder. That was the first point in which the friends of 
the slave were triumphant. They persevered, and, after the struggle of 
years, they succeeded in 1807 in getting the Parliament of the United 
Kingdom to denounce the slave-trade as " an abomination not to be 
endured," — notwithstanding the opposition of the West Indian 
body, who defended the vile traffic to the _last moment. The next 
step, and it was no inconsiderable one, had been achieved by the 
exertions of the present chancellor Lord Brougham. Through 
his able endeavours, the practice so unblushingly defended in pre- 
vious years was degraded to the rank of a felony, in which most 
fitting position it at present stood. The West Indians had continued 
for 20 years maintaining the advantages that arose to the country from 
a practice which, if now detected, would incur the penalties of felony. 
In addition to these beneficial changes, he was of opinion that the 
abolitionists had also done something in attracting such an assembly 
as that which he looked upon with infinite gratification. The spirit of 
the nation had been roused, and it was only necessary to prevail upon 
those who had not hitherto joined their ranks to read and reflect. 
When it was once established that a negro was a man, and that to 
steal him was felony, the principle of the object they desired to attaixi 

164 General Meeting — Mr. O'Connell. 

was virtually admitted; and, if they went on as they had begun, they 
could not fail in a short time to secure, in its full extent, the object 
itself. At that hour of the day he would not farther detain them, 
but would move, — 

"That, under these impressions, this Society has contemplated 
with no small astonishment and alarm the appointment of a Committee 
of the House of Lords, not for discussing the means of abolishing 
Slavery, but for now commencing an inquiry into the nature and 
effects of Slavery, although these have been conclusively established 
by the evidence of the last forty years." 

Mr. O'CONNELL, who was received with loud plaudits, seconded 
the resolution. The Honourable and Learned Gentleman said that 
it was by brevity alone that he could compensate so flattering a re- 
ception : indeed his sole claim to be heard at all was included in one 
sentence — he was an abolitionist. {Applause). He was for speedy — 
immediate abolition. {Great applause.) He cared not what caste, 
creed, or colour slavery might assume ; he was for its total — its in- 
stant abolition. Whether it were personal or political — mental or 
corporeal — intellectual or spiritual, he was for its immediate aboli- 
tion. {Renewed applause.) He would submit to no compromise with 
slavery — his demand was for justice in the name of humanity, and 
according to the law of the living God. {Applause.) Let him, however, 
not be mistaken. He would not say that he was opposed to the miti- 
gation of slavery — he would, on the contrary, support every measure 
for the mitigation of slavery, provided always that it were a real miti- 
gation, and not a West Indian delusion — {applause) — provided it 
were not that mockery of mitigation which — 

" Kept the word of promise to the ear 

And broke it to the hope." 

The meaning of real mitigation was, that it would strike off some 
particular portion of slavery — that it would make the master less a 
master — the slave less a slave, and in so doing would make the master 
less a tyrant; for it was not in human nature for man to have dominion 
over his fellow-creature without degenerating into a tyrant, in conse- 
quence of possessing that dominion. {Applause.) And what did this 
prove? Why the radical, essential, and perpetual injustice of slavery. 
He denied that any man could be justly the slave of another. If 
they asked the West Indians why they were opposed to the abolition 
of slavery, the reason assigned would be, that to take this step would 
be to rob them of their property. He would meet it at once, and deny 
the proposition — {Hear.) He would tell them that they had robbed 
men of that which it was not in the power of their victims to bestow — 
nor to sell— namely, the soul's unchanging equality, which belongs to 
all persons, and apart from the institutions of civil society. There 
was a natural equality between man and man, and there could not, 
therefore, justly be any such relations as owner and slave. But in this 
case the men did not even sell themselves— (jFTear)— he denied that 
they could make a transfer of their freedom— but, supposingthat they 
could, what power, he would enquire, had they over the liberties of 

General Meeting— Mr. O'Connell. 165 

their unborn children 1 — {Hear.) Lived there the parent who could con- 
template with other feelings than anguish and horror the prospect of 
giving birth to a brood of slaves ? Where was the mother who could 
rejoice to think that her pains and perils would be rewarded by the 
chuckling laugh of an infant, were that infant doomed to be a slave ? 
(Applause.) He would tell the West Indians that they could put 
forward no plea for delaying emancipation on the ground of having a 
property in the slave. They could not have such property— it was in 
contravention of the everlasting decree of heaven. He would admit 
that they had a property in houses, sugar canes, plantations, sheep, 
and oxen, ay and in swine. (A laugh.) He would give them the 
swine, but this would not satisfy them, for they placed pig and man in 
the same class, and called them both property. But then, said the 
Colonists, must they be compelled to feed negroes that were not 
their property whether they worked or not? To this he would answer-— 
" No ; but when they did labour equitable wages should be paid to 
them, and he who could get labour and pay ought not to be fed ex- 
cept by the produce of his industry." Let the Negro have the stimulus 
of wages to undertake employment, and the punishment of starvation 
if he refused to labour. (Hear.) But then it was assumed that the 
negro was not prepared for the reception of freedom. Admitting the 
fact, who was it that had unfitted him for the exercise of his rights? 
The planter ! and surely he who stood between the negro and every 
species of instruction— he who impiously and blasphemously placed 
himself between the negro and his God — should not be permitted to 
tell him that slavery must continue to be his portion, because he had 
unfitted him for freedom. (Applause.) But he denied the position. 
Who would pretend to assert that it was easier to bear slavery than 
freedom ? When the negro bore the horrors and cruelties of bond- 
age, where was the insolent man who would declare that he could not 
bear the privileges of freedom ? (Hear.) The period had arrived 
when every man who had honest feelings should avow himself the ad- 
vocate of abolition. He who tolerated and countenanced crime was 
himself a criminal, and wherever he (Mr. O'Connell) was able to 
utter his sentiments with effect, whether there or elsewhere, his voice 
should be raised for liberty, for the complete enfranchisement of the 
slave. (Applause.) 

He did not choose to interfere with the phraseology of the first 
resolution, which touched upon the almost universal sentiment 
of the British nation, on the subject of emancipating the Negro, 
but he would respectfully submit that they should include in the 
resolution the sentiment of the Irish nation ; for he had the happiness 
of saying, and he made the statement with pride, that among the 
representatives of Ireland, no matter what might be their differences 
of opinion on political topics, there was not one who would not vote 
in favour of the abolition of slavery. (Hear.) On many subjects 
they might be divided in parliament, and out of it ; political dislikes 
and animosities might, and unfortunately did exist ; but he could say 
to the credit of all the Irish members that there was not a man of 
them, of any sect, party, or denomination, that had raised his voice on 

166 Geyieral Meeting— Mr. O'Connell. 

this question, save to cry down Negro slavery. But with this general 
unanimity, it might be enquired why, since the occasion of their last 
meeting, they had acted supinely, and allowed the time to pass unim- 
proved. An excuse was, however, unfortunately ready in the pro- 
tracted adjustment of a question which had absorbed the exertions that 
ought to have been made for the Negro, and it was only by waiting 
until public opinion obtained a true and efficient organ that they 
could obtain the full accomplishment of their endeavours. 

The West Indians had of late taken their stand upon the rebellion in 
Jamaica; this event had proved quite a God-send to them. {A laugh.) 
They had been the unluckiest fellows in the world but for this rebel- 
lion ; not a leg had they to stand upon — they were utterly incapable of 
motion till supported by the crutch of a rebellion. (J, laugh.) But 
what was the amount of this much-talked-of movement ? Let it be 
recollected that the Negroes had never rebelled before without inflict- 
ing the greatest cruelties on the whites — without retaliating the bar- 
barities they had suffered from their task-masters by putting to death 
all prisoners, men, women, and children, indiscriminately. How 
should they, the friends of the Negro, who had assisted in diffusing 
the principles of Christianity among them, rejoice in the delightful 
recollection that in the late revolt the prisoners had been almost uni- 
versally spared, and that, amidst the confusion and terror that pre- 
vailed, scarcely a single white man had been deliberately murdered! It 
had been the most humane insurrection recorded in the annals of 
negro history. This insurrection, so far from being an argument 
against emancipation, was a most decided argument in its favour ; for if 
slavery be so intolerable that the unarmed are impelled by it to op- 
pose the armed— if, driven to madness, the defenceless and undisci- 
plined are incited to struggle with the disciplined— if it were so unen- 
durable that it causes its victims to rush almost to the certain 
forfeiture of their lives, no fact could be adduced more strongly 
indicative of the necessity of emancipation. He would counsel the 
planters to emancipate for their own sakes, and before it became too 
late. He would tell them to do it before the load of their guilt became 
so grievous that a moral earthquake would take place, and sweep 
them from the islands. 

Let not the friends of abolition allow their humanity to evaporate 
in mere words : let them look throughout the country, and as- 
certain who were with them in the cause. Let every man who 
abhorred slavery petition against it : and he would suggest that 
those who graced and softened human life— those in whose bosoms 
dwelt the social charities— he would suggest that the women of 
England should petition for the abolition of slavery. {Applause.) 
Why should there not be a universal prayer for emancipation ? Hu- 
manity, justice, religion, called upon them to wipe away this foul 
blot, and to effect a change by which they would not only be the 
agents in producing an immediate good, but the future benefactors of 
countless millions. 

It was not Britain's brow alone that displayed the black spot 
of blood. The republican States of America were also partici- 

General Meeting— Mr. O'Connell. 167^ 

pators in the guilt. O, the rank inconsistency of those apostles 
of liberty who dared to talk of freedom while they basely and 
wickedly continued the atrocious servitude of the black native of 
America ! Republicans were generally proud and high-minded, and 
the pride of the Americans should be made the weapon for breaking 
down slavery in their States— for if it were not for the example of 
England, which mitigated the impression of the disgrace and crimi- 
nality attached to the system, they would not have the audacity to 
sanction it in the face of the world. If the American States continued 
slavery after Britain had proclaimed emancipation, they would be 
placed under civil exclusion by the civilized world ; it would be said 
to them, " Ye, hypocrites ! Talk not to us of liberty when you fold 
to your bosom the chains of human thraldom !" Let slavery be extir- 
pated in the British Colonies, and it must speedily disappear in 
America. {Applause.) 

There remained but one topic more — a most momentous one— 
the great question of religious instruction. How could they call 
themselves Christians and see the progress of their faith barred 
by Negro slavery ? He hoped to witness Dissenters, and mem- 
bers of the Established Church, and the humble Catholics also, 
among Avhom was included the individual who then addressed them, 
— he hoped to behold them in the name of their common God — dis- 
pensing the benefits of his sacred word among the degraded Negroes ; 
and he would call upon that assembly to see that the blessings of 
redemption be no longer stayed by slavery. The missionaries might 
differ from him on particular points of faith and practice ; but he 
trusted that they were combined in the greatest point of all— charity ; 
and he pledged himself that, if support were wanted to their cause in 
any assembly of which he was a member, no man would give it 
more zealously— more sincerely than he. {Applause.) Though differing 
from the missionaries in some religious opinions, he would do them 
the justice to express his conviction, that there was not one charge of 
all that there was brought against them, which was not utterly false. 
Their only crime was, that they were not criminal — but that they 
were exerting themselves meritoriously — teaching the Negro to submit 
to his hard fate, in the hope of receiving a reward for his sufferings, 
in another and a better world. (Applause.) It had been alleged 
that the religious public — for which he owned the highest respect — 
had not shown sufficient sympathy for those who had suffered for their 
efforts in instructing the slave. He could not personally speak to the 
fairness of this charge — he had heard it with great regret, and would 
believe it with still greater reluctance. Religion was a combination 
of humanity and justice, and that person could not be religious who 
was insensible to the cries of humanity or the demands of justice ; 
nor was there any liberty secure or stable that was not founded upon 
religion. They might attempt to build, but every wind of heaven 
would scatter the work of their arrogant erection, unless it were firmly 
based upon religious sentiment and religious practice. He trusted 
that the accusation made to-day would not be realized to the re- 

168 General Meeting — Mr. O'ConnelL 

proach of the country. They were on their trial before the British 
nation, and, to go clear of blame, they must aid the persecuted mis- 
sionaries, and put an end to oppression. (Applause.) 

He was reminded of the resolution, which was about a Committee 
of the House of Lords. He had no great confidence in a Committee 
of the House of Lords, and, as his countrymen would say, " small 
blame to him for that" (a laugh) — nor, though his taste might be bad, 
had he much confidence in a majority of the Lords. {Applause). 
He therefore laughed to scorn their attempts to stop the progress of 
humanity and religion, by getting up a paltry committee of West 
India slave-holders, only throwing in one or two Lords of an opposite 
description — just adding a sprinkling of virtue and goodness, that 
there might be something good floating on the foetid mass. (Applause.) 
Till the age of miracles returned — till a courtly peer should be enabled 
to repel, with his open palms, the waters of the Thames from London 
bridge to Richmond, and confine them there — until this occurred, he 
should not believe that the Committee of the House of Lords could 
arrest the current of opinion. (Applause.) The meeting seeming to 
concur with him, he need not therefore detain them by entering on 
the consideration of its merits ; he could not conclude, however, 
without reminding them that they should all be for abolition. If 
persons talked of postponing it, they would answer that they could not 
afford to do so ; slavery was a crime — a high crime against heaven, 
and its annihilation ought not to be postponed. They had heard a 
great deal lately of the iniquity of the East India Company getting 
money from the poor infatuated wretches who throw themselves be- 
neath the wheels of the chariot of Juggernaut ; he would call upon 
them to be no longer parties to the cruelties of the West Indian 
Juggernaut, for the tyranny was the same, whether the instrument 
were a wheel or a lash, whether the torture were voluntary or invo- 
luntary. The priests of Juggernaut were respectable persons com- 
pared to those who were opposed to benevolence, humanity, and re- 
ligion. No exertions of his should be wanting to forward the cause ; 
and he would conclude by imploring all who were around him to think 
of what had brought them there, and to unite heart and hand in pro- 
moting this great work. (Loud Applause.) 

The CHAIRMAN said, that, in compliance with the suggestion of 
the honourable and learned gentleman, he would make a slight change 
in the terms of the first resolution, by inserting, in lieu of the phrase 
" British Nation," the words " People of Great Britain and Ireland." 

The resolution moved by Mr. Smith was then put, and carried 

The Rev. Joseph Ivimey, at this period of the proceedings, called 
on Mr. O'Connell to explain why he had not redeemed the pledge 
he had given at the last Annual Meeting of the Society, to bring 
forward a motion in Parliament to the effect that no children should 
be born in slavery in the British dominions after the 1st of January, 

Mr. O'Connell, in ieply,said he would appeal to Mr. Buxton, whether 

General Meeting — Rev. J. Burnett. 169 

he had not been solicitous to redeem his pledge, and whether he had 
not been prevented from doing so by his honourable friend undertaking 
to bring forward a more comprehensive motion, which would include 
those already born. He should not have conceived himself justified 
in weakening the effect of the honourable member for Weymouth's 
motion, by submitting a lesser proposition to the House of Commons. 
{Applause.) He begged to thank the gentleman who had given him 
the opportunity of making this explanation ; and he would add that, 
if any individual present thought that the motion should be made by 
him on Monday, the gun should not set on that day before he had 
proposed it. 

Mr. Buxton fully exculpated Mr. O'Connell from any lukewarm- 
ness in the cause ; and said, though since last year's General Meeting 
the advocates of the Negro had met with both opposition and deser- 
tion, among the few who supported them steadily was the gentleman 
who had just addressed them. 

The Rev. J. BURNETT said that the resolution he held in his hand 
was a weighty one. It came in, it was true, at a late hour of the day, 
but he trusted that, until the business was completed, those who really 
loved freedom, and were the friends of the slaves, would endure a little 
slavery for their sakes. {Hear.) He was satisfied unless that was done 
in this meeting, and in many meetings, and in all our meetings, the 
slaves would never be emancipated. The gentlemen who had gone 
before him had been chieflymembersof the House of Commons, who had 
shown that they had no great confidence in the House of Lords ; but the 
resolution he had contained something against the House of Commons. 
When he looked back upon what had actually been done, he felt com- 
pelled to say, that with the resolution he was about to move he most 
fully concurred. They were told that the slaves had been, to a cer- 
tain extent, introduced to the privileges of men ; they could not jiow 
be slain like animals, for their wilful slaughter was now murder. He 
granted this was something. Then there had been a variety of miti- 
gating circumstances introduced into the slave code. This he would 
likewise admit was something. But what were these things when put 
in comparison with the fact that they were still in bondage, and bought 
and sold in the public market-places? {Hear, hear.) Such was the 
fact, and, however they might regard these mitigating circumstances, 
it must be maintained that almost nothing had been done until the 
men had been set free. And v/hy was it that they were not set free ? 
{Hear.) Certain resolutions had been passed in 1823, and a suffi- 
cient measure of time had elapsed for them to obtain all that they 
desired ; but they had been told that it was right to continue the 
system of amelioration, and this was all the length they had got up 
to the present moment. 

If the House of Commons had acted its part by the black man as 
it had by the white, if it had again and again sent up the black eman- 
cipation Bill to the House of Lords, both Houses would have covered 
themselves with the halo of glory which was now, perhaps, justly 
withheld from both. {Hear and applause.) Why did they not act 
so ? {Hear.) Who made the House of Commons ? {Hear.) Let us 

170 General Meeting — Rev. J. Burnett. 

trace the criminals. We heard high authorities blamed for not making" 
peers, but who made the House of Commons ? — The people : and let 
him tell the people they were not justified in blaming the Lords, or the 
power that made the Lords {Hear, hear), until they sent up men who 
were united on the principle that emancipation was a right, and a 
privilege, and a matter of justice. (Cheers.) Let them trace the 
crime to its sources. Let them tell the constituency that, if they had 
played a proper part for the last half century, the slaves would, at 
this moment, have been blessing them for the enjoyment of their 
freedom, which their united efforts had given. {Applause.) They had 
heard a great deal said, and the object of this resolution was to give 
them something to do. There must not only be hearing, and clapping, 
and applause, but work — and work not merely when countenanced by 
their fellows, but in private — not merely the work of field days like this, 
but all the year round, and through every moment of time, until there 
shall not be a man in bondage within the wide range of the British 
dominions, {Applause .) This was the work he was about to give this 
meeting and the electors of the empire ; but, previously to doing this, 
let him ask what the friends of the cause had been enabled to do in 
the House of Commons, for he did not like to blame unjustly. {Hear, 
hear.) It was not sufficiently known that there were very few in 
that House who went the whole length of eternal justice : it was 
not known that this was the real cause why the slave had not been 
emancipated. One honourable member made a motion for a speedy 
and safe emancipation ; then got blamed out of doors for not using the 
term " immediate emancipation," and was said to have deserted 
the great cause : but, if this were done, be it known that the House 
would scout it, and deride it, and mock it. {Hear.) 

He did not deride the House for this, but he wished to state facts 
tending to show that it ought to be made a better House. {Hear.) 
If emancipation was said to be necessary, it was immediately replied 
that it would throw the whole of the colonies into disorder. Were 
they now in order? {Hear and laughter.) Were they in such a 
condition that they would be thrown into confusion by the use of such 
a sparkling epithet as immediate ? were they not under martial law ? 
Were there not trials, and judges, and councils, and all the parapher- 
nalia of justice without the reality ? They were in any thing but 
order : it was almost impossible to make them more confused. {Hear.) 
Were not the planters acknowledging that the law was not strong 
enough, and dismissing it to introduce the bullet and the bayonet ? 
There was much greater confusion likely to arise from the loading of 
muskets, the fixing of bayonets, dismissing the judges, discharging 
juries, and shooting slaves, than from using the words " immediate 
emancipation." {Hear.) He did not believe that these gentlemen 
were afraid of introducing confusion — he believed they raised the cry 
for the express purpose of creating confusion, in order to subdue the 
rising spirit of freedom, that cried for justice in behalf of the sons of 
Africa. {Applause.) 

But they were often told that they did not do the West Indian 
planters justice. {Hear.) They told us they detested slavery in the 

General Meeting — Mr. Evans. 171 

abstract ; this was their constant language in the House of Commons. 
When he was at school, there was not certainly in any map that he 
saw a place called " the land of Abstraction." {Hear.) But he 
found in the West Indies that they hated slavery in the abstract ; that 
was in the land of abstraction. {Laughter.) And, wherever that land 
might be, the slavery that prevailed there must be detestable indeed 
to be hated by West India slave-holders. {Laughter and applause.) 
He, however, could not agree with them even here ; for he was most 
attached to slavery in the abstract ; and if all slavery could be thrown 
into " the abstract" he Avould sink all emancipation together, and 
move the dissolution of the Anti-Slavery Society. Yet this was 
the language of the West Indian body in and out of the House, 
and, with all the fury of their nature, they turned round and told 
us how we maligned them, when we knew that they hated slavery 
in the abstract. {Laughter.) But it was not the abstract slave, nor 
the abstract whip, nor the abstract market-place, stocks, or jail, nor 
any thing in the abstract, that visited whole generations with misery 
and death : it was with nothing of this kind that they had to deal, 
but with fearful realities — and that was his reason for hating slavery 
because it was not " slavery in the abstract." {Applause.) The 
slave himself did not feel any thing in the abstract; with him all 
was in the concrete. Pteligion was denied him ; personal liberty 
was stolen from him ; and suffering and oppression were operating 
upon him until he sunk under the power of slavery in terrible 

He would now direct the attention of the meeting to the ob- 
ject of the resolution, which was to adopt an address to the consti- 
tuency of Great Britain and Iieland, calling on them to unite as one 
man in the cause of emancipation. After alluding to the frequent but 
unavailing efforts which had been made by the friends of Negroes to 
obtain from the legislature the necessary measures for the abolition of 
slavery in the colonies, the electors were now called upon to return 
only those men who were friendly to Negro emancipation. The 
Rev. Gentleman in conclusion said that the address should be sent 
with their best wishes throughout the kingdom — and, if the friends 
of freedom were obedient to the summons, it was quite impossible that 
the day should not be their own. 

Mr. W. EVANS, M. P., in seconding the resolution, referred 
to Mr. Jeremie's work respecting the state of the slaves in the 
island of St. Lucia for cases, which, from the official station formerly 
filled in that colony by the writer, afforded a correct exemplification 
of the workings of the slavery system. The orders in council had not 
been acted upon, though no man complained of the conduct of the 
emancipated slaves. The friends of emancipation had a great many 
difficulties to encounter, but this afforded no reason for abandoning 
hope : it should rather stimulate them to unite their efforts, and trust 
to the justice, righteousness, and holiness of their cause, that God 
would influence the hearts of the people not to slacken in their 
endeavours while there remained a single slave within the British 
dominions. ( Applause.) 

172 General Meeting — Mr. G. Stephen — Rev. B. Noel. 

The resolution embodying the address to Electors was put and carried. 
Mr. GEORGE STEPHEN moved the adoption of a petition to 
parliament, embodying the sentiments expressed in the previous reso- 
lutions, and expressed a hope that it would receive the signatures of 
all present at the Meeting, and thereby become invested with an im- 
portance worthy of the Society whose united sentiment it expressed. 
That Committee against which it protested did indeed call for their 
united repi'obation. Of whom did it consist but of slave owners, whom 
common decency ought to have excluded, for it was tantamount to 
asking themselves if they should continue to practise that system 
of murder for which they were arraigned by their fellow countrymen. 
There wasLordSeaford,on two of whose Jamaica estates the slaves were 
decreasing rapidly. There was Lord Combermere, on whose Nevis 
estate 44 slaves out of 240 had died in two years and a half. And 
then, though he did not see upon the platform a single mitred head 
when a question was under discussion of the deepest importance to 
Christianity, it was not so in the august tribunal to which he had 
alluded, for in the Lords' Committee there were not fewer than three 
prelates enrolled for the purpose of enquiring what particular number 
of lashes the slave could by possibility endure ! (Cries of"' shmne.") 
Who, he would ask, were these Right Rev. personages ? They were 
all slave proprietors ex officio, being in their episcopal capacity 
trustees of the Codrington estates ; and, with respect to these estates, 
their indirect interest in them was a sufficient reason for restraining 
the Lords from nominating them to seats on the tribunal of judgment. 
The slave had asked for bread, and their Lordships had given him a 
stone ! he had asked for fish, and they had given him a serpent. 
Rather should these Right Rev. Lords have addressed their peers in 
the spirit of the holy text, " The hire of the labourer who reapeth 
down your fields, and which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth. 
The cry of him that reapeth is entered into the ears of the Lord of 
Sabaoth." He was himself a churchman, and felt deeply what was 
due to the establishment of which he was a member ; and it was 
because he entertained this feeling both warmly and sincerely that 
he could not pass over the conduct of their Lordships, concerning this 
question, without reprehension. {Hear, hear.) 

The Hon. and Rev. BAPTIST NOEL seconded the motion, and pro- 
ceeded to say that the planters had too long acted upon their declara- 
tion — that Christianity and slavery were incompatible. He held in his 
hand a statement respecting the conduct of the Baptist missionaries, 
which exhibited the strongest internal evidence of being sti'ictly true. It 
showed that the insurrections in the West India islands were neither 
directly nor indirectly to be traced to those meritorious men who had 
exposed themselves to contumely, to danger, and to death, that they 
might faithfully discharge the sacred duties to which they had de- 
voted themselves. They had been imprisoned for a month, and were 
then discharged for want of evidence. The persecution which the mis- 
sionaries had suffered was far too systematic to be attributable to a 
momentary excitement. It could only have originated in a deter- 
mined disposition for vengeance, and in a rooted enmity to religious 

General Meeting — Rev. Baptist Noel. 173 

instruction, which prevailed in all the colonies, towards all bodies of 
missionaries. It appeared that the Methodist missionaries had also 
been imprisoned, and discharged for want of evidence. If there had 
been a little of prima facie testimony to show that the missionaries had 
forgotten their duty, be could have excused the colonists; but the mode 
in which they had been treated in Jamaica, Dcmerara (and in Bar- 
badoes also), was altogether indefensible. If the planters did not 
entertain a rooted enmity to religion, why was that atrocious Com- 
mittee formed which voted that the missionaries were introducing sedi- 
tion? — a resolution acted upon by the House of Assembly in Jamaica. 
Why did they subject the missionaries, when convening a religious 
meeting after sunset (the only time when the Negro could receive re- 
ligious instruction), to a fine of £20 ? They who watched the influence 
of true religion on the character must have observed that its effect on 
the most degraded being was to make him wiser and better, was to 
render him, when otherwise he had been goaded into madness by in- 
sult and wrong, calm and patient — not submissive like a spaniel, 
but Christian-like— cheered under the hardest earthly lot by the hope 
of a blessed immortality. Ought not the pulse to beat with the deepest 
emotions of pity, when they saw communities resolving that the blessed 
Gospel should be driven from the hearts and heads of the poor Negroes? 
Were these things accidental ? No ; otherwise they could not be. 
The dominion of the West Indian over the slave would go on ; the 
religious man must go on ; and the subject before this meeting would 
go on. It was fitting that they should obey in all things lawful, but 
beyond that line neither slave nor freeman was warranted in pro- 
ceeding, for they were responsible to a master higher than the 
highest among terrestrial authorities. It was, however, for according 
obedience to this precept that the slaves had been punished — had 
been flogged and sent to the workhouse. But through every 
trial, he would say, let the missionaries testify the efficacy of reli- 
gion by the display of Christian fervour. Let Methodists, Bap- 
tists, and Moravians alike concur in the sacred work. He would call 
on all present, of whatever denomination they might be, if they were 
the friends of religion, to stand forward in support of the righteous 
cause. The deeds of the planters were suicidal— they would serve 
to quicken the energies of those Christian bodies who had been in- 
sulted in the persons of their missionaries, and a phalanx would thus 
be formed that would pronounce a final sentence upon an unhallowed 
system. Persecution would be the parent of a more powerful opposi- 
tion. If the West Indians had not persecuted the members of the 
established faith, they had done worse— they had scandalized it, by 
their pretended " Church Union Society." {Hear.) The rectors could 
do nothing in the colonies ; it was true they had manufactured Chris- 
tians by thousands per month by baptism, but they were prevented from 
advancing the progress of vital religion. (Hear.) He was sure every 
minister of the church who really loved the blessed Saviour, and 
therefore loved his people, would aid in this glorious cause, and ex- 
tend his favour to those who were labouring to promote the know- 
ledge of Christ among our species. (Hear.) 

174 General Meeting— Mr. Crampton. 

The petition was then adopted. 

Mr. CRAMPTON, the Solicitor-General for Ireland, came forward, 
and said, that after the able statements, and the eloquent appeals, 
which this assembly had heard from the platform, it would require 
more than that portion of modesty which belonged to his country and 
profession, were he now to inflict upon them a speech. He had no 
such intention : he only rose to move another resolution, and in so 
doing to draw a few conclusions from what had been so eloquently 
said. But first he would observe that, however divided on other sub- 
jects (and no men were more divided). Irishmen were unanimous in 
their detestation of slavery. {Hear.) He trusted that Englishmen 
were not less devoted to the cause of liberty. He thought it unjust 
to charge the continuation of the odious system of Colonial Slavery 
upon any men, or classes of men, in this country. He would not 
impute it to the House of Commons ; he would not impute it to the 
House of Lords. He thought the blame should be more equally dif- 
fused ; he thought the people of the United Kingdom generally were 
to blame — all had more or less sanctioned or connived at this, the 
the blackest blot, and the foulest stain, that ever disgraced the British 
nation. He said that there should be no looking back to find fault, 
but that all should look forward, and every hand and heart should be 
united in a great effort to remove this abomination from the face of 
the earth. {Hear.) They had it incontestably established that the 
system of Colonial Slavery was cruel, unnatural, anti-British, and 
anti-Christian ; they had it on the declaration of the very supporters 
of the system " that Colonial Slavery and Christianity were incom- 
patible ;" and on these premises did he arrive at a legitimate conclu- 
sion when he asserted that Colonial Slavery ought to be abolished — 
totally abolished — immediately abolished. {Cheers.) That it ought 
to be abolished they were all agreed ; that it might be abolished they 
could not doubt ; and that it must be abolished he hoped they were 
all determined. {Cheers.) Mr. Crampton said he had an office to 
perform in proposing the following resolution, and they had a duty to 
discharge, by exerting all their eflforts and influence to carry that re- 
solution into effect. The Learned Gentleman then read the resolu- 
tion, which was to the following effect : — • 

" That this Meeting resolve to redouble their exertions ; and never 
to relax in their most strenuous efforts in behalf of their enslaved fel- 
low subjects, until the objects of the Society shall be fully accom- 
plished ; and that a Collection be now made, and Donations and 
Subscriptions be solicited, in aid of the funds of the Society." 

" This resolution," said Mr. Crampton, " asserts the sentiment which 
I just now uttered with your hearty concurrence : Colonial Slavery 
ought to be abolished, it may be abolished, and it must be abolished. 
For the sake of the slaves — for the sake of the masters — for the sake 
of British Liberty— for the sake of the British people— in the name 
of justice— in the name of humanity— in the name of religion 
itself-— ^Zauerr/ must be abolished .'" 

Mr. HENRY POWNALL seconded the motion. He called upon 
the ministers present, and their brethren, to advocate the cause of the 


General Meeting — Mr. Poivnall. 175 

Negroes. He contended that the church of England gave no counte- 
nance to slavery, though some of her members did ; and he could not 
conceive that the first founders of that church could have ever coun- 
tenanced slavery, or have supposed any of their successors would 
have been slave-holders ; for they would not have mocked God by 
inserting in the liturgy, " have pity upon all prisoners and captives," 
while they were keeping men in slavery. No, their object was not to 
perpetuate human thraldom, but to introduce all men into the " glorious 
liberty of the sons of God." (Applause.) He called on the friends 
of Negroes to be more zealous in the cause in which they had em- 
barked, and pointed their attention to the meeting of those gentlemen 
who assembled in the Thatched House Tavern, to observe the zeal 
that animated them. He trusted the meeting would go forth pledged 
to this resolution, and determined to uphold those men in parliament 
who would act faithfully in bringing this subject to an issue ; and he 
would say to those men, divide the house on every occasion, and, if 
they stood alone, it would be a glorious minority. Paul stood alone 
on Mars-hill, and they need not be ashamed to stand alone in the 
House of Commons. {Hear.) He lamented the appointment of the 
Lords' Committee, but he could easily account for such a proceeding. 
He trusted they should hear no more of orders in council ; it was con- 
trary to the principles of English jurisprudence that there should be 
one law for the rich and another for the poor, and, therefore, he 
wanted to hear of no more orders in council, but the establishment of 
equal rights and equal laws for all. He would not rest contented 
with the most beneficial measures that fell short of the entire 
emancipation of the Negroes from slavery. He recommended them 
to make the subject a matter of every day thought and domestic 
conversation, and to lose no opportunity of pressing it upon the 
serious attention of their families and acquaintances. He entreated 
them. not to be deluded by the cry of mitigation, and not to think 
lightly of Negro-slavery; for, just in proportion as they thought lightly 
of slavery abroad, they would undervalue liberty at home. 

The resolution was then put and agreed to. 

The Rev. J. IVIMEY now came forward to propose an address to 
the king, which he conceived to be as essential as a petition to par- 

Mr. SAMUEL THORROWGOOD seconded the motion, and in a 
short speech recommended abstinence from sugar cultivated by slaves 
as a certain mode of securing their emancipation. (Hear.) 

Mr. T. STURGE, a member of the Society of Friends, observed, 
that the address to his Majesty had not been submitted to the 
Committee, and could not be recognised as the act and deed of the 
Anti-Slavery Society, nor was it part of the appointed proceedings of 
the meeting. Mr. Burnett also objected to the reception of the 
address, on the same grounds. 

After some desultory conversation, Mr. Ivimey consented to with- 
draw his address, but stated his intention of calling a meeting for the 
purpose of adopting it, and declared that he would present it to his 
Majesty himself, if no one else would. 

176 Debate on Mr. Buxton s Motion. 

It was moved by Mr. George Stephen, and seconded by the 
Rev. J. Burnett, 

" That the thanks of the Meeting be given to the Agents and Cor- 
respondents of the Society, for their recent great exertions in behalf 
of the cause, and especially in reference to the petition to the House 
of Lords." 

It was moved by Mr. Beldam, and seconded by the Rev. J. 

" That the thanks of this Meeting be given to the Chairman, for 
his great kindness in taking the Chair on this occasion, and for his 
able conduct in the occupation of it." 

The motion being carried by acclamation. 

The CHAIRMAN returned thanks for the honour which had been 
done him, and observed that, however he might seem to have been 
more active in the cause than some others, it was to be accounted for 
on this ground, that they had only heard of slavery, while he was a 
witness of it for eleven years. It was said to one who read the ora- 
tions of Demosthenes, and admired them, What would you have felt 
if you had heard him speak them ? So with respect to a very different 
theme— slavery— they would have felt their honest indignation roused, 
and their zeal for its overthrow far more excited, had they beheld its 
cruelties and atrocities. But he trusted that, while they were spared 
the painful sight, they would not relax in their efforts, but would un- 
remittingly devote themselves, heart and soul, to the cause of the 
Negroes, so long as they remained unemancipated. 

The meeting then broke up about seven o'clock. 

II. — Debate on Mr. Buxton's Motion in the House of 

Mr. Buxton's motion on the Slavery Question came on for discus- 
sion on the 24th of May. It was in these terms : — " That a Select 
Committee be appointed to consider and report upon the measures 
which it may be expedient to adopt, for effecting the extinction of 
Slavery throughout the British dominions, at the earliest period com- 
patible with the safety of all classes in the Colonies." 

After a very interesting discussion, of which one of the most 
remarkable features was the obviously improved tone and temper of 
the majority of the House on this great question, an amendment, 
proposed by Lord Sandon, and supported by Ministers, to the effect 
that all measures for the extinction of slavery should be " in con- 
formity with the Resolutions of this House on the 15th day of May, 
1823," was carried by a majority of 73, 163 voting for the amend- 
ment and 90 for the original motion. We must reserve for a subse- 
quent number of the Reporter a more extended account of this 
debate and its important results. Meanwhile a list of the minority 
who voted for Mr. Buxton's motion, and of the select Committee ap- 
pointed in conformity with the Resolution passed, may be found in 
the Anti-Slavery Record, No. 2. 

London :— Printed by S. Pagster, Jun., 1-1, Bartholomew Close. 



No. 97.] JUNE, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 7. 

EVIDENCE TAKEN.— PAPER OF 13th APRIL, 1832, No. 381, CON- 

The enormous bulk of this Report precludes an analysis of it. It 
is besides vague and unsatisfactory, and decides nothing. The wit- 
nesses, with scarcely an exception, are West Indians, and the evidence 
of course ex parte. We must confine ourselves to some cursory re- 
marks upon it. 

1 . A common topic with all the witnesses is, the -peculiar distress ex- 
perienced, at the present moment, by the growers of West India produce. 
But is the existing distress so very peculiar as is pretended ? With 
occasional gleams of prosperity, which have served only to aggravate 
the planters' general embarrassments, the whole history of West Indian 
speculation, for the last seventy or eighty years, has been, if we believe 
themselves, a succession of losses and disasters of the most extensive 
and overwhelming description. 

" Mr. Long, himself a West Indian and the historian of Jamaica, 
establishes the fact, that, so long ago as the year 1750, the planters of 
that island were labouring under severe distress. Mr. Bryan Edwards, 
also a West Indian planter and the historian of the West Indies, refer- 
ring to the period which closed in the year 1792, when his work first 
appeared, asserts (2nd vol. book vi. chap. i. 5th ed. p. 587) that 
though ' many have competencies which enable them to live well with 
economy in this country, yet the great mass of planters are Tnen of 
oppressed fortunes, consigned by debt to unremitting drudgery in the 
Colonies, with a hope, which eternally mocks their grasp, of happier 
days, and a release from their em.barrassments.^ 

" But we have still more decisive authority than that even of Bryan 
Edwards, for the prevalence of great distress at this period, and during 
the twenty preceding years. 

" On the 23rd of November, 1792, a Report was prepared on the 
Sugar Trade of Jamaica, by a Committee of the Assemljly, and con- 
firmed and printed by its order, which contains the following passage. 

" '■In the course of twenty years, 177 estates in Jamaica have been 
sold for the payment of debts ; 55 estates have been thrown up ; and 
92 are still in the hands of creditors ; and it appears, from a return 
made by the provost marshal, that 80,121 executions, amounting to 
£22,563,786 sterling, have been lodged in his office in the course of 
twenty years.^ " 

Can any thing more disastrous be predicated of the present tirne? 

2 A 

178 West Indian Distress. 

" A gleam of prosperity followed the revolution of St. Domingo; but 
in a few years the sky was again overcast, and in a Report of the Assem- 
bly of Jamaica, of the 23d Nov. 1804, and printed by order of the House 
of Commons on the 25th Feb. 1805, we have the following statement. 

" ' Every British merchant holding securities on real estates, is 
filing bills in Chancery to foreclose, although when he has obtained 
his decree he hesitates to enforce it, because he must himself become 
the proijrietor of the plantation, of which from fatal experience he 
knows the consequence. No one will advance money to relieve those 
whose debts approach half the value of their property, nor even lend a 
moderate sum without a judgment in ejectment and release of errors, 
that at a moment's notice he ?nay take out a writ of possession, and 
enter on the plantation of his unfortunate debtor. ' Sheriffs' officers 
and collectors of taxes are every where offering for sale the property 
of individuals who have seen better days, and now must mew their 
effects purchased for half their real value, and at less than half the 
original cost. Far from having the reversion expected, the creditor 
is often not satisfied. All kind of credit is at an end. If litigation 
in the courts of common law has diminished, it is not from increased 
ability to perform contracts, but from confidence having ceased, and 
no man parting with property but for an immediate payment of the 
consideration. A faithful detail would have the appearance of a 
frightful caricature.' 

In 1807, the consideration of the commercial state of the West Indies 
was referred to a Committee of the House of Commons. The Report 
of that Committee was printed, by an order of the House of the 24th 
July, 1807, and is numbered 65 ; and it may be referred to with great 
advantage, as exhibiting the uniformly ruinous nature of sugar-planting 
speculations in our slave colonies, and the desperate and costly expe- 
dients which the planters are in the habit of demanding for their relief. 
At that time, as now, the West Indies were described as liable, without 
speedy aid, to inevitable ruin, and to the loss of a vast capital. 

" In the following year the same subject was pressed again on the 
attention of Parliament, and a voluminous Report was printed, by an 
order of the House of Commons of the 13th April, 1808, No. 178, in 
which it is recommended that sugar should be substituted for grain in 
our distilleries. To this Report is appended a detailed statement from 
the Assembly of Jamaica, dated 13th Nov. 1807, in which they state 
that, within the last five or six years, Q5 estates had been abandoned, 
32 sold under decrees of Chancery, and 115 more respecting which 
suits in Chancery were depending, and many more bills preparing. — 
' From these facts,' they go on to say, ' the House will be able to judge 
to what an alarming extent the distresses of the Sugar Planters have 
already reached, and with what accelerated rapidity they are now 
increasing ; for the sugar estates lately brought to sale, and now in 
the Court of Chancery in this Island and hi, England, amount to 
about one-fourth of the whole number of the Colony. 

'* ' Your Committee have to lament that ruin has already taken place, 
and they must, under a continuance of the present circumstances, anti- 
cipate very shortly the bankruptcy of a rmich larger part of the com- 

West Indian Dist7^ess. 179 

vmnitij, and, in the course of a few years, of the whole class of Sugar 
Planters, excepting perhaps a very few in peculiar circumstances.' 

" And the remedy which the Jamaica Assembly recommended was 
to adopt means to raise the price of their sugar in England to from 
60*. to 705. a cwt. exclusive of duty, as alone adequate to afford a living 
profit to the planter ; and to this end they recommend the substitution 
of their sugar for British grain in the distilleries. 

" On the 15th of June, 1812, a 'Representation of the Assembly of 
Jamaica to the King' was laid on the table of the House of Commons, and 
printed by its order. It is numbered 279. In this representation simi- 
lar complaints to those already specified were renewed. They there speak 
of their ruin as complete : — ' For two years has this most calamitous 
state been endured ; the crops of 1809 and 1810 are in a state worse 
than useless ; — a third draws towards its close with no appearance of 
amendment or alteration. The crop is gathering in' (they are speaking 
here of coffee), ' but its exuberance excites no sensation of pleasure.' If 
the slaves of the coffee plantations are offered for sale, who, they ask, 
* can buy them ? — -The proprietors of the old sugar estates are them- 
selves sinking under accumulated burdens.' ' If ever there tvas a 
case demanding the active and immediate interference of a paternal 
government, to relieve the burdens and alleviate the calamities of a 
most valuable and useful class of subjects,' ' it is that of the Coffee 
Planters of Jamaica.' 

" The remedy the Assembly proposed was a high protecting duty, or 
even a prohibition of other coffee. — But they proceed — 

" ' The distresses of our constituents are not confined to the Coffee 
Planters. The growers of cotton, pimento, and the minor staples, are 
also suffering severely from their depreciation. The Sugar Planters, 
however, call more especially for protection and interposition.' ' The 
ruin of the original possessors has been gradually completed. Estate 
after estate has passed into the hands of mortgagees and, creditors 
absent from the island, imtil there are large districts, ivhole parishes, 
in which there is not a single proprietor of a sugar plantation resident.' 
' The distress,^ they add, ' cannot be well aggravated,' and the most 
moderate recompence which can save the sugar grower from ruin is said 
to be 50*. a cwt. exclusive of duty ; for ' it is not to be concealed, and 
cannot be denied, that a crisis has at last arrived, when nothing but the 
immediate and powerful interposition of the supreme authority of the 
empire can prevent our utter destruction. Exactions, debasement, and 
privations have been long and patiently endured by the proprietors. A 
large proportion of them now see approaching the lowest state of human 
misery, absolute want to their families, and the horrors of a gaol for 
themselves '.' 

" The general effect of these statements, strong as they are, seems to 
have been borne out, in some measure, by a speech of Mr. Marryat, in 
the House of Commons, in 1813, in a debate on the East India sugar 
duties. He is stated to have then affirmed, ' That there were compa- 
ratively few estates in the West Indies that had not, during the last 
twenty years, been sold or given up to creditors.' 

180 West Indian Distress. 

" And now, after a lapse of nearly twenty years more, during which 
the West Indies have been drawing immense sums from the pockets of 
the public for bounties and protections, and have had freedom too given 
to their commerce in an unprecedented degree, what is the language 
they are at this very moment addressing to Parliament and the nation ? 
It is this, — ' The alarming and unprecedented state of distress in which 
the whole British West India interest is at this time involved,' the 
petitioners say, justifies them in imploring Parliament ' to adopt prompt 
and effectual measures of relief, in order to preserve them from vwvitable 
ruin.' And not satisfied with the protection they already enjoy, and a 
bounty of 5s. to 6s. a cwt., they again revert to the necessity of a large 
additional bounty in order to secure to them a remunerating price for 
their sugar. 

" Instead of looking for help to their own industry and economy, and 
to the reformation in their plans of cultivation, they throw themselves 
on the bounty of the public, 

" And what but this ill-timed bounty has been the cause why 
the West Indies should have continued in that low state of improve- 
ment which they now exhibit ; — that the miserable hoe, raised by the 
feeble hands of men and women, driven forward by the whip, should 
still be the only instrument generally used in turning up the soil, to 
the neglect of cattle and ploughs ; — that all modern improvements in 
husbandry should be almost unknown; — that one unvarying course of 
exhausting crops should be pursued Avithout change or relief; — and 
that in a climate congenial to them the population should continue 
progressively and rapidly to decrease ? These, and many other points 
that might be mentioned, are anomalies, which can only be accounted 
for by the withering influence of Slavery "and of the factitious aid by 
which it is upheld. How different would have been the state of things 
in our Colonies, had a different course been pursued I How different 
would soon be their state, and this is now a far more important consi- 
deration, if they were led to depend on their own resources, and they 
were released from the injurious effects of that protecting system 
which has hitherto kept them from all effective efforts of improvement I 
If there be truth in history, or any certainty in political science, the 
downfall of the present system, and of the restrictive laws which 
maintain it, Avould prove beneficial to none more than to the Colonists 

" But it is not the distress of the West India planters, as arising from 
the system we have been pursuing, which is chiefly to be deplored, but 
the sufferings which it entails on the slave population. For it admits 
of demonstration that, independently of the other evils of slavery, 
sugar planting, as conducted in the West Indies, is decidedly un- 
friendly to human life ; and that its destructive influence is aggravated 
by the circumstances which swell the gains of the planter, namely, 
the fertility of the soil, and the protection afforded to his produce by 
bounties and protections. It is not merely that these advantages 
enable him to live at a distance from his slaves, who are thus left to the 
care of mere hirelings ; but that they form a strong temptation to an 

West Indian Distress. 181 

ij^creased exaction of slave labour. Accordingly, we find that where 
the lands are most productive, yielding the largest return for the labour 
of each slave, and a proportionately larger share of whatever gain 
arises from protection and bounty, the ratio of mortality is the highest. 
" And it would further appear that while the mortality of the slaves 
seems to keep pace with the productiveness of the soil, and the conse- 
quent high profits of the master, the distress of the planter seems also 
to run parallel with those apparently favourable circum.stances in his 
lot. The proportion of slaves sold in execution is greatest in those 
colonies where the quantity of produce they rear by the acre is propor- 
tionably the largest. The number of slaves sold in execution in De- 
merara and Trinidad for example, where the soil is the richest and the 
planter's gains the greatest, is more than double, when compared with 
its population, what it is in the less fertile colonies. These details are 
contained in a volume of official returns laid on the table of the House 
of Commons, in 1826, numbered 353."* 

2. In affecting to develope the causes of West Indian distress, the 
witnesses must have been at some pains to hide from the view of the 
Committee some of those which are eminently influential. A few of 
these will be found in an article in the Anti-Slavery Reporter, Vol. iv., 
No. 75 (pp. 94, 94, and 101— 104)— entitled, " The question of com- 
pensation to the owners of slaves calmly considered" — to which we refer 
the reader. 

3. Great pains have been taken by the witnesses to prove that the 
principal cause of the present distress of the British sugar grower 
arises from the immense advantages which the foreign Colonies derive 
from the continuance of the slave trade. This it is, they say, which 
has mainly depressed and still weighs down the British planter, and Mr. 
Macdonnell especially has entered into laborious details to prove this 
point. But he has overlooked, in his reasonings upon it, some of the 
main elements of just calculation. He has forgotten that while it may 
be true that in Colonies enjoying the slave trade' the proportion of 
effective labourers on an estate, as compared with its whole population, 
may be numerically larger than it is in the West Indies, yet in the 
former there are sources of heavy loss arising out of this very trade, 

* This is in remarkable agreement with the view taken of this subject by Vis- 
count Goderich in his despatch of the 5th Nov. last, lately laid before Parliament. 
" The existence of severe commercial distress amongst all classes of society con- 
nected with the West Indies is unhappily but too evident. Yet what is the just 
inference from this admitted fact? Not that the body should yield to despair, 
but that we should deliberately retrace the steps of that policy which has led to 
so disastrous an issue. Without denying the concurrence of many causes, it is 
obvious that the great and permanent source of that distress, which almost every 
page of the history of the West Indies records, is to be found in the institution of 
Slavery. It is vain to hoJDe for long-continued prosperity in any country in 
which the people are not dependent on their own voluntary labour for support, 
in which labour is not prompted by legitimate motives, and does not earn its 
natural reward," &c. And again, " I cannot but regard the system itself as the 
perennial spring of those distresses of which, not at present merely, but during 
the whole of the last fifty years, the complaints have been so frequent and so just." 

182 West Indian Distress. 

from which our planters are happily exempt. While this country- 
carried on the slave trade it was fully admitted and even pleaded by 
our planters that the mortality among the newly imported slaves, dur- 
ing the first two or three years of their residence in the Colonies, 
amounted to at least 20 per cent, on the number sold to the planters ; and 
this even while the British slave trade was under strict regulations. Butthe 
foreign slave trade has been for the last fifteen years a contraband trade, 
and in consequence of this the sharp, fast-sailing vessels, which carry 
it on, are so crowded with their wretched passengers that they arrive 
in the Colonies in a state of very great debility and emaciation, after 
enduring a frightful mortality on the middle passage. While in such a 
state, the process of inuring them to the labours of the field produces 
a rapid consumption of human life, amounting it is believed, on good 
authority, in the first three years after importation, to from one-fourth 
to one-half of the whole number imported. A planter, therefore, who 
may have purchased 50 slaves, at a cost of £1500 or £2000, may find 
at the end of two or three years that he has actually lost by death a 
fourth, or a third, or even a half of the capital so invested. Now, Mr. 
Macdonnell has not adverted to this part of the case as affecting the 
cost of production ; and yet, unquestionably, it forms a weighty item 
in counterbalancing the greater number of effective labourers on the 
plantations of Cuba and Brazil. 

It is the more surprising that Mr. Macdonnell should have omitted 
any reference to this most important feature of the case, since at pages 
21 and 22 of his evidence (questions 229 — 231) he incidentally notices 
the fact that the mortality, among the slaves in Cuba and Brazil, 
amounts to 50,000 annually. This part of his evidence is given as 
loosely indeed, but still as confidently as every other part of it. 
Whatever, therefore, may be his real meaning, whether these 50,000 
annual deaths apply to Cuba and Brazil jointly, or separately ; and 
whether they refer only to the fresh importations into both or either, 
there will, in any of these cases, be an immense deduction to be made 
from the aggregate of the advantage which, he labours to prove, is pos- 
sessed by the Foreign over the British Colonist. As respects Cuba, the 
loss of 50,000 slaves annually Avould be an absorption of capital 
totally overwhelming, being equal to a fifth or sixth of its whole slave 
population, and far more than sufficient to outweigh the very largest 
estimate which can be framed of the advantages, over our planters, 
which those of Cuba possess in consequence of their slave trade. Nay, 
all that has been said by him and his co-witnesses on the comparative 
cheapness of slave labour, in the foreign Colonies, grounded on a par- 
tial view of the real facts of the case, will actually be nullified by the 
admission of this single additional item into his calculation. 

In fact, Mr. Macdonnell, and the other witnesses hitherto examined, 
have kept wholly out of view what constitutes the grand and essen- 
tial difference between Cuba and Brazil on the one hand, and the 
British Colonies on the other. And yet how they could have overlooked 
it, if they had wished to state the whole case fairly, it would be difficult 
to explain. The grand difference is this : 

West Indian Distress. 183 

In Cuba and Brazil the planters are almost all resident on their 
plantations. They superintend their own farms, and look after their 
own labourers. They can dispense therefore with costly establishments 
in Europe, at a distance of four or five thousand miles from their farms, 
and with the no less costly train of attorneys, managers, and overseers, 
which is requisite to supply their place when absent. They raise their 
own food ; they breed their own beef, mutton, pork, and poultry ; they 
have every thing wanted either for themselves or their slaves, except 
clothing and wine, on the spot ; and these they procure, on easy terms, 
in barter for their produce. 

How widely different is the whole economy of the British planter ! 
He resides, perhaps, in some fashionable part of London, while his farm 
is in Jamaica or Demerara ; and, to supply his place, he has to hire an 
expensive agency to superintend its agriculture, and to look after his 
stock both human and animal ; an agency, too, necessarily composed of 
p'ersons of whom he can have but a very slight knowledge, over whom 
he can exercise but a very slender control, and whose interests are not 
always in unison with his own, but may, on the contrary, be opposed to 
them. Instead of rearing his own beef, mutton, pork, &c., he neglects pas- 
turage almost entirely, and pays an immense price for beef and pork 
imported from England or America. Brazil and Cuba swarm with 
cattle, which may be bought for a mere trifle, and which form a con- 
siderable part of the food of the slaves, while fresh beef in Jamaica is 
a luxury out of their reach, and which they are most severely punished 
even for having in their possession. (See Jamaica Slave Law of 1831, 
§. 90.) 

What should we expect to be the result of an English farmer's specu- 
lation who should choose to buy and stock a large and costly farm, and 
then go to reside at Rome or Naples, leaving the whole conduct of his 
aff"airs to hired agents, he himself unable to take any part in their 
superintendence, and only receiving the net proceeds of his corn and 
cattle after they had passed through all the channels of intervening 
agency, and sustained all the deductions to which in their progress they 
would necessarily be subject ? What hope of profit or prosperity could 
any rational man entertain from such a speculation ? And yet such is 
precisely the course pursued by the British planter, while the planters 
of Brazil and Cuba almost all reside on their farms, superintending 
them in person, and living on what those farms produce. 

Here is a difference in itself of far more moment than all those which 
the witnesses have specified besides ; and yet, for obvious reasons, it 
has been passed over in silence. 

But it is not in Cuba and Brazil alone that we may view the real 
effect of the slave trade on the prosperity of the Colonists who still 
have the benejit of its importations. The case of the French islands is 
still more remarkable, and is still better ascertained. Martinique, for 
example, was restored to France in 1815, with a slave population of 
about 70,000. By means of a contraband slave trade, from 70,000 to 
75,000 more have, in the interval, been poured into it. And yet we are 
assured by Mr. Jeremie, the late Chief Justice of St. Lucia, that the 

184 West hidian Distress. 

slave population of Martinique has not materially increased, " At the 
end of 15 short years," he says, " all these importations have been 
swept away, and their slave population stands much now as it did 
then." " Now, the planters are generally still deeper in debt; and the 
largest slave purchasers make no difficulty in saying that the last 15 
years have been so much lost to them." — Jeremie's Four Essays on 
Colonial Slavery, 1st Ed. p. 100, or 2nd Ed. p. 102. 

Now, it must be admitted that Mr. Jeremie is a very competent wit- 
ness to this point, and his accuracy is unquestionable. He filled a high 
station for six years in the once French but now British Island of St. 
Lucia, almost in sight of Martinique, with which it maintains a con- 
stant intercourse. He had access to the best sources of information. 
His clear and decided testimony, therefore, on this point, is surely more 
entitled to credit than the vague rumours on which the present wit- 
nesses have erected their interested theories, and their random calcula- 
tions. He even places the actual prosperity of the British planters of 
St. Lucia in favourable contrast with the present depressed state of the 
planters of Martinique, and directly traces the latter to their enormous 
slave trade, the effect of which has been, in consequence partly of the 
dreadful extent of the mortality caused by it, to overwhelm them in deeper 
distress. The planters of Martinique have lately petitioned the Cham- 
bers for relief, in nearly the same terms, and on much the same grounds 
with our own planters who have solicited the present enquiry. 

4. But there is another remarkable fallacy which pervades the 
whole of this evidence. It is the position that land which has been 
used to cultivate sugar is not convertible to other purposes. The wit- 
nesses admit that sugar is the most exhausting of all crops, and it must 
therefore require either a rich soil, or that the land should be highly 
manured. Indeed, sugar is the only growth on which the West Indian 
farmer ever bestows manure. It may be true, therefore, that lands 
planted with sugar cane for many years, until the soil is so completely 
worn out as to require high manuring before it will yield a fair crop, 
will not be worth cultivating for any other purpose to which manure is 
never applied. But it is obvious that the same principle applies uni- 
versally. It belongs to England as well as to the West Indies. A soil 
thoroughly worn out by any species of culture cannot be made pro- 
ductive without being renewed by manure, or permitted for a time to 
lie fallow. Land which, without manure, would yield no sugar, could 
not be expected to be very productive of other articles ; and yet, without 
manure, it would bear any other article better than sugar. But to say 
that cane lands which are rich, and not wor?i out, are not convertible to 
any, nay, to every other purpose, is altogether untrue ; it is contrary to 
all experience in all parts of the known world. — It is notorious that in 
Demerara,* Berbice, and Trinidad, many plantations have been turned 
from coffee to sugar, and they might be turned from sugar to coffee 

* In Demerara, the quantity of sugar grown has increased amazingly since 
the peace, and almost all this increase arises from the conversion of coffee or 
cottoq estates into sugar estates. 

West Indian Distress. 185 

again, without any difficulty whatever, as fai* as the quality of the soil 
IS concerned ; and that the real impediment arises from the cost of the 
sugar works, and the time required for the growth and maturity of the 
coffee tree. Many of the coffee plantations and grass farms in Jamaica 
were formerly sugar estates that had been abandoned ; and it is perfectly 
absurd to suppose that a coffee plantation, which may have been converted 
to sugar in 1828, for example, should not be capable of growing coffee 
again in 1831 and 1832, merely because it has produced an inter- 
mediate crop or two of sugar. In India, where sugar is extensively 
cultivated, there is no such difficulty as these witnesses state. Having 
there no expensive works for the manufacture of sugar, there is a 
regular alternation of crops, as is the case in all good husbandry, and 
the land which grows sugar one year bears other crops in succession, 
and then reverts to sugar again. 

In our own island of Antigua, sugar is made to alternate with other 
crops, and in Barbadoes canes grow intermingled with provisions in the 
same field. Nay, even in Jamaica, nothing is more common than to 
see the 'cane land, when newly planted, bearing at the same time a 
luxuriant crop of Indian corn or maize, which is reaped before the 
cane is so high as to be injured by the corn planted between each row. 

Cane land, it is also admitted^ is convertible into pasture land, and 
the neglect of this species of culture is in nothing more visible than 
this, — that while, in Brazil and Cuba^ cattle abound to such a degree 
as to form the common and cheap food of the inhabitants, in the British 
islands fresh beef is so dear that they import salted beef, with pork, and 
butter, from England or America, even for the use of their white agri- 
cultural servants, instead of rearing their own, which they might do at 
a fourth of the cost. But the land, and especially the labour, which 
in this direction would minister so essentially to the comfort of all 
classes, whether white or black, are required for other purposes ; namely, 
to make up the quantity of sugar which, at all hazards, and with what- 
ever sacrifices, must be sent home to the British consignee, in order to 
pay him the heavy interest on his advances, and the no less heavy com- 
missions on the produce consigned to him. 

o. This leads us directly to the consideration of that system which 
has been established between the West India planter and his consignee 
in this country, and which the witnesses in general state to be so ne- 
cessary as to render a change nearly impossible ; but which entails 
on the grower of West Indian produce a far heavier burden than even 
that which they ascribe to the operation of the foreign slave trade. 

It is alleged, indeed, by some of the witnesses, that the double com- 
missions charged by West India consignees, first on the proceeds, and 
then on the duty, is not peculiar to that line of trade. But does it 
prevail in any other ? The whole of the tea trade, for example, a trade 
much larger in amount than that of sugar, is carried on without this 
enormous aggravation of charge. And such, it may safely be affirmed, 
is the case almost universally ; and to suppose that the same course 
might not be advantageously pursued in the West Indian trade is 
wholly to misapprehend the power of British capital and the facilities 

2 B 

186 West Indian Distress. 

of British commerce. Sugar is, by this single contrivance (independ- 
ently of all the benefits resulting to consignees from high freights, 
profits and commissions on insurances, commissions on the supply of 
stores, &c. &c.), loaded with a direct tax of three per cent. — viz. two 
and a half per cent, for the merchant's commission, and a half per cent, 
for the brokerage, on the duty, as well as on the sale price of the article ; 
to which no other trade appears to be liable. This of itself is a large 
deduction from the profits of the planter. But, indeed, the whole sys- 
tem is framed so as to swell the gains of the consignee lender, at the 
expense of the dependent borrower ; and it is with this view, doubt- 
less, among others, that the whole system also of fiscal regulations, 
respecting the export of refined sugar, appears to have been framed. 

6. The witnesses affect to state the reasons why, with every facility 
afforded, by the present state of the law to the West Indians, to export 
their sugars direct to the Continent (to which a certain proportion of 
them must ultimately, though circuitously and indirectly, be conveyed), 
they choose universally, with not an exception, first to import them into 
this country, and then, after being refined, to export them to the Con- 
tinent, thus incurring the expense of a double voyage, with all the 
attendant charges of freights, insurances, commissions, landing and 
shipping charges, &c. &c. &c. One main reason is doubtless, in many 
cases, to be found in the binding engagements under which the plant- 
ers are placed by their creditors and consignees to ship their produce 
direct to this country. But another and stronger reason, which has been 
very much kept out of view in this examination, and which applies 
not to the encumbered planter alone but to all, is, that it is only by 
passing their sugar through the refining process in England 'that they 
can bring them into competition with foreign sugar in the continental 
market, or proportionably raise the price in the home market. In spite 
of the silence observed on that point by most of the witnesses, it is 
nevertheless true that at this very time there is obtained, by the West 
Indians, in the shape of drawback, a bounty, which operates not on 
the exported sugar merely, bvit on our whole consumption, of not less 
than from 5s. to 5s. 6d. or 6*. a cwt. The West Indians, it is true, deny 
this, and affirm that the bounty, if there be any, is a mere trifle. But 
the contrary nnay be proved ; and indeed nothing else but such a 
bounty could account for it, that no sugar should go from the West 
Indies to the Continent except through England, till loaded with the 
additional chargesof a second voyage, and after having undergone some 
refining process, however slight. 

To elucidate this subject, a statement will be here inserted, which 
was first published in 1827, but which will be found to apply 
in a still stronger degree, in consequence of improvements in re- 
finery, to 1832than to 1827. At that time, indeed, the highly respect- 
able agent of Jamaica, Mr. George Hibbert, scrupled not to admit in a 
confidential letter to his constituents, which they afterwards published in 
their own Gazette, that " the drawback upon the export of 


West Indian Distress. 1 87 

cwT.;" and he gives this as a reason for not attempting to disturb even 
the high rate of duty of 30s. per cwt. then payable. And yet, at the 
very time that he was making this admission, Mr. Whitmore's motion 
in the House of Commons for a committee on the subject was opposed 
by the whole West India body, on the ground that there was in fact no 

But, if there be indeed no bounty, we would ask how it happens 
that, though the West Indians are now at liberty to export their surplus 
directly from their plantations to the continent, they prefer sending it 
first to England, and then from England to the continent, though it 
thus becomes loaded with double freight, insurance, commission, and 
shipping and landing charges. This otherwise strange proceeding 
is to be explained only on the principle of their deriving, in some 
way, a very great advantage from their monopoly of the British market. 
And the fact is that the drawback, on the refined sugar exported from 
this country, is so regulated as not only to compensate, to the West In- 
dian planter, the heavy extra charges just mentioned, but to afford him 
a considerable profit besides, all which must necessarily come out of 
the pockets of the people of this country. 

It is a further proof of the correctness of this view of the subject, not 
only that no raw sugar is shipped directly from the West Indies to the 
continent, though the continental ports are open to receive it, but that 
the whole quantity exported thither from this country in ?L7'aw state, for 
example, does not exceed a few hundred tons, and was probably not 
even intended for sale there, being evidently not more than might be 
required for the use of the crews of the ships engaged in the trade 
between Great Britain and the continent. 

The law at that time allowed to the exporter of one ton of refined 
sugara drawback of £41. 8*. 4d. And, if it had required 34 cwt. of raw 
to produce a ton of refined sugar, this might have been an equitable ar- 
rangement. But, in truth, 30 cwt. of raw sugar is equal or nearly 
equal to the production of 20 cwt. of refined, besides leaving a consi- 
derable residuum, after refinement, of both bastards and molasses. 

The statement of 1827, to which we have alluded, was as follows :— 
"The calculation of drawback may be thus made : 

30 cwt of raw sugar yield about 20 cwt. in all of refined, 
being about 75lbs. for each cwt. of raw : on which 20 cwt. 
a drawback is allowed on exportation of ..... £41 8 4 

Besides the refined sugar, 30 cwt. of raw yield about 

392 lbs. or 3| cwt. of bastards : these come into the 

home market nearly on the same footing with raw, 

which pays a duty of 27s. per cwt., being therefore 

•equal to 4 14 6 

They also yield about 504 lbs. or 4^ cwt, of molasses, which 
coming into the market on the same footing with that 
paying a duty of 10s. per cwt. are equal to .... 250 

Making in all £48 7 10 

188 West Indian Distress. 

Now the whole duty actually paid on the raw sugar which 
produced all this was, on 30 cwt. at 27s 40 10 

Leaving a gain of £7 17 10 
Or nearly 5s. 3d. on each cwt. of the raw sugar so manufactured, and 
making therefore a profit to the West Indians, on the whole of our im-- 
ports from the British dominions (200,000 tons), of upwards of a 
million a year. 

" We admit it to be open to the West Indians to say that we have 
estimated the quantity of refined sugar obtained from a cwt. of raw too 
high, when we state it at 741b. to 751b. : but we think not : and, if an 
investigation were only allowed, we are confident it would be shown 
that even this estimate is below the truth. 

" The yielding of 30 cwt. of raw sugar is, on the above calculations, 
nearly as follows : — 

Refined sugar . 20 cwt. 

Bastards . . 3^ 

Molasses . . 4^ 

Waste .... 2 

" If the operation of this bounty extended only to the quantity ac- 
tually exported, its effects would be comparatively trifling. We should 
be paying to the West Indians from 120,000/. to 140,000/. in order 
that so much of their sugar as went abroad might be sold at a cheaper 
rate to our neighbours than we ourselves can obtain it for ; but pre- 
' cisely in the same degree as the price of the sugar we export is thus 
lowered to them is the price of our whole consumption enhanced to us. 
This effect is inevitable ; and it operates upon us, to a large extent, as a 
tax for the benefit of the West Indies." 

Having made these preliminary observations, it is proposed to advert 
briefly to a few parts of the evidence which has been taken by the 


Mr. Macdonnell is the Secretary of the West India Committee, and the 
person who is chiefly employed in preparing the various statements of 
the West India body. He has resided in Demerara for some years, but 
is not practically acquainted with tropical, agriculture, or with the de- 
tails of plantation management. 

Nothing can be more vague and unsatisfactory than the whole basis 
on which not only his evidence, but that of the other witnesses is made 
to rest. He is asked (Question 12) what is the expense of raising 
112lbs. of sugar on the average of estates in the British colonies? 

*" We do not vouch for the perfect accuracy of these statements. We proceed 
necessarily on data more or less uncertain. This very uncertainty, however, 
forms a strong reason for enquiry." [The duty is now 24s. and the drawback in 
the same ratio; the bounty, therefore, proportionately less than in 1827.] 

West Indian Distress. 189 

The answer is, " I consider fifteen shillings and tenpence a fair 
average."' — Now in the colonies of Demerara, Trinidad, and some 
others, it is admitted that, owing to difference of soil, the same num- 
ber of labourers will produce more than double the quantity of sugar 
which they produce in Jamaica. The difference is in fact more, but 
thus much is the admission of the West Indians themselves (see Ques- 
tion 872), To produce in the first class of colonies, therefore, 12 cwt. 
of sugar, will require one effective labourer in the year, and in the other 
class of colonies at least two such labourers. Suppose the sugar of 
both to be equal in quality, both will sell for the same price. Call that 
price 25s. per cwt. ; then each parcel will sell for £15 ; which £15 are 
gained, in one case, at the yearly cost of one slave's labour, and in the 
other at the expense of the labour of two slaves. By the labour there- 
fore of one man, 25s. per cwt. are obtained by the Demerara planter, 
while the Jamaica planter, for the labour of his one man, obtains only 
12s. 6d., being a difference of 12s. 6d. per cwt. in favour of the former. 
The cost of production, therefore, is more than double in Jamaica what 
it is in Demerara, and Jamaica might as fairly claim protection against 
Demerara, or Trinidad, or Mauritius, as against foreign colonies. If the 
cost of production is to be the criterion, then the more productive colo- 
nies would have no title to consideration on this ground, while the 
worn out and unproductive colonies would have to be supported by 
large and excessive protection. The protection which might be per- 
fectly superfluous for one colony would be inadequate to another. The 
real difference between the productiveness of Jamaica as compared with 
Demerara, taking the year 1829, is as four and a half to twelve, and 
with Trinidad, in that year, is as four and a half to seventeen. 

This principle is fully admitted by Mr. Macqueen, one of the wit- 
nesses (856, &c.*) The slaves in Tortola, he says, now nearly maintain 
their numbers : but they produce, according to him, only 4 cwt. of sugar 
per slave. The slaves do not keep up their numbers in Demerara and 
Trinidad, though they produce from three to four times that quantity. 
Decrease of numbers, however, is no mark of comfort, but rather of 
discomfort. The slaves, therefore, must be worse treated in Trinidad 
and Demerara, where they decrease considerably, than in Tortola where 
they decrease little. 

Again, the growth and import from Jamaica in 1830 was 1,386,000 
cwt., the population being 330,000; making nearly 4j cwt. for each 
slave. The growth and import from Demerara in the same year was 
about 850,000 cwt., the population being 69,000 ; being about 13 cwt, 
for each slave, thrice the quantity for each slave in Jamaica. Can Ja- 
maica then stand the competition with Demerara any more than with 
Cuba or Brazil ? Again, from Trinidad the import appears to have been 
400,000 cwt., the slave population being 23,000 ; that is nearly 18 cwt. 
for each slave, reducing the cost of production, even as relates to De- 
merara, from 40 to 50 per cent. — as relates to Jamaica, to one-fourth of 

* The figures used in this and the following paragraphs correspond with the 
number of the Question in the printed evidence, No. 381 of 1832. 

190 West Indian Distress. 

what it there costs to raise sugar — and as relates to Barbadoes and 
Dominica to one-sixth. Can competition be maintained under such 
disadvantages ? 

But are the slaves of the prosperous colonies of Demerara and Trini- 
dad better off", as indicated by their increase or decrease, than the slaves 
of the depressed colonies of Jamaica, Tortola, and Dominica? Their 
ruin, therefore, is far more owing to our own than to foreign colonies. 

Mr. Macdonnell is further asked what is the increased expense of pro- 
ducing sugar in our colonies, as compared with Cuba and Brazil; 
and he answers 15*. 10c?.; making in fact the cost of production in 
Brazil nothing ; for he states above that the cost of production in our 
colonies is just the same, viz. 15*. lOd. (23 — 25). To say nothing of 
the absurdity of such a statement, what possible data can he 
have for making these calculations of the comparative cost of pro- 
duction in Brazil and Cuba, and in our islands ? Of two most material 
ingredients in such an estimate he seems to have wholly lost sight, 
namely, the want of skill among new Africans, and their frightful 
mortality. And is there not at least as great a difference of cost, on 
data that are certain, between Jamaica and Trinidad, as is alleged by 
this witness, on data the most vague and 'uncertain, to exist between 
Jamaica and Cuba ? In truth, the increased supply of sugar from our 
own colonies has been far more detrimental to the West Indians than 
the increased supply from foreign colonies, and this for obvious reasons. 

The witness affirms it to be necessary to find a market on the conti- 
nent for a surplus of 50,000 hogsheads of sugar (35, &c.) ; and yet how 
could a market possibly be found, under every alleged existing disadvan- 
tage, but for the very large bounty now actually given, though so 
studiously kept out of view ? The West Indians are enabled to do it 
only by the bounty of £5 or £6 a ton, which also in fact lays an im- 
post to that extent on our home consumption ; which Mr. Mac- 
donnell himself states to amount to 220,000 tons annually, making a 
sum of from one million to one million and a quarter. But for this 
bounty it would be utterly impossible for them, without a very large 
sacrifice, to send their sugar to the continent. And, if the bounty be 
now 5s. or 6s. at least, what must it be, on their present showing, in 
order to be effective? It must be more than double, perhaps treble, and 
all to uphold and even greatly to aggravate the evils of slavery ; and, 
while some slave-holders would be enormously enriched by it, others 
would still continue to lose. 

We do not, he admits (77 — 80), introduce one cask of sugar from the 
West Indies direct to the Hanse Towns, or to any other ports on the 
continent ; and yet we export all our surplus produce to those towns, or 
to some other place on the continent, with a large addition of charge, 
which must be defrayed by the mystification of our refining system ; 
for a large bounty alone on refined sugar can explain this. 

All his reasoning on the subject, as it respects not only the United 
States, but Russia and other parts of the continent, applies only to Mus- 
covado sugar, and not to clayed. Now clayed sugar can come from 
Jamaica to this country on equal duties with Muscovados; and 

West Indian Distress. 191 

if it may be sent to Petersburgh, as it may, on equal terms with the 
clayed sugar of Cuba, why may not persons in Jamaica, not themselves 
sugar growers, invest capital in buying and claying Muscovado sugar 
there, and shipping it thence direct to Russia? Claying is a sim- 
ple process, requiring no expensive works, and no expensive mate- 
rials, and no field labour. It is a work which any free black or coloured 
person might carry on, and which he would hire himself to carry on. 
It is labour not requiring the driving whip, which alone deters free 
persons from agncidtural labour. British Muscovado sugar comes only 
to England, and goes from England only in a refined state, obviously 
because of the bounty. As for claying, it is just as well understood in 
our own as in foreign colonies. It requires little or no outlay of capital 
on the part even of the planter ; little at least beyond a diversion of labour 
from the field to the claying house. If claying would enhance the price, 
so as to make it worth the planter's while — 'UtDthing need prevent his 
lessening his breadth of cane land and bestowing the labour abstracted 
from it on claying. The real obstacles are the bounty, and the mort- 
gagee and consignee system. Grenada and Barbadoes formerly clayed 
their sugar (see Mr. Macqueen's Evidence, question 861). They do 
not now clay it, because the bounty attaches, not to clayed sugar, 
but to Muscovado only when exported in a refined state. 

Mr. Macdonnell (183) states the case of a Cuba slave ship, which 
sold her cargo of 484 slaves to the planters for 145,200 dollars ; but if 
the planters, who paid the owner of the slave vessel 145,200 dollars for 
his 484 slaves, lost, in the seasoning, half or even a third or a fourth 
of them, they would require something in the way of profit, from the 
labour of the remainder, to pay the 50,000 or 70,000 dollars, thus irre- 
coverably sunk by the mortality ; and this would go far to change 
their advantage into a positive disadvantage. 


Mr. Colville is a large sugar planter, who resides in London, and is 
also a merchant and consignee of West India produce. 

Mr. Colville's own slaves amount in Jamaica to upwards of 800 ; 
besides slaves whom he has in Demerara. Mr. Wedderburn, a gentleman 
nearly related to him, possesses in Jamaica alone 1700 or 1800 slaves, 
of whose produce Mr. Colville is the consignee. 

Now all these slaves, both his own and Mr. Wedderburn's, are de- 
creasing in number, although the relative proportion of the sexes is 
favourable, and has been so for at least the last fifteen or twenty years ; 
the females being about three or four per cent, more than the males. 

In two years, from March 1824 to March 1826, the decrease of Mr. 
Wedderburn's slaves was upwards of U percent. (A. S. R. vol. iii. p. 146) ; 
and on two sugar estates of Mr. Colville's, Blackheath and Southfield, 
containing, in March 1817, 568 slaves, the number in March 1820 was 
only 519, and in March 1824 it was reduced to 484; being a pro- 
gressive decrease in those seven years amounting, in the aggregate, to 
84, being at the rate of twelve in each year, or nearly two and a half 
per cent, annually. The free Maroons, in the immediate neighbour- 

192 West Indian Distress. 

hood of these two estates, have increased, during the very same period j 
at the rate of nearly two and a half per cent, annually ; making the 
portentous difference, between these free Negroes and Mr. Colville's 
slave Negroes, of five per cent, per annum. Now if Mr. Colville's slaves 
had been as well off, and as well fed, and as lightly worked as the 
Maroons, which last have had no food and no supplies but what they 
have procured by their own industry, instead of the 484 slaves on 
those two estates in 1824 he would have had 652,— being 168 more thari 
he actually possessed, — the value of whom, even at £50 a-piece, would 
have been £8,400. But is it not on account of this frightful consump- 
tion of human life, quite as much as from the rivalry of the foreign 
slave trade, that Mr. Colville feels that he needs a bounty ? With 168 
more added to his stock, instead of 84 killed off from it, he would evi- 
dently have been better able to bear the competition of Cuba and Bra- 
zil. Mr. Colville has said not one word of this waste of his human 
stock by death ; and yet there are ample proofs to be found on the 
table of Parliament that he was aware of it. 

In the year 1807, Mr. Colville, then Mr. Wedderburn, was largely 
examined by a committee of the House of Commons * on the subject 
of West India distress, of which he spoke then in the same strong and 
sweeping terms which he now uses. The case then, as now, was abso- 
lute ruin, without speedy, nay, instant relief. He testified that the nu- 
merous estates with which he was connected, for a long time, had made 
no interest at all on their capital (p. 20). There was no plea then of 
foreign slave trade ; for none existed. That trade was and had been for 
a time all our own, and Mr. Colville and his associates had, in that very 
year, been exerting themselves most vigorously to preserve untouched 
that cruel and criminal traffic ; and but for the very men who now di- 
rect His Majesty's counsels, and who were happily placed over them 
at that time, for a brief space, they might have retained it to this 
hour. Earl Grey was then the King's leading Minister in the House 
of Commons, and had tlie glory of putting an extinguisher on that 
guilty commerce, then so fondly cherished by the very men who now 
choose to view it, in the hands of others, as the source of their ruin. — 
But while they enjoyed it, and enjoyed too a monopoly of it, did it 
benefit them ? On the contrary, their extreme depression at that time 
may be traced to it — But, not to pursue this point at present, — this 
important document has been now cited for the purpose of adverting 
to the very full and instructive details, which Mr. Colville then laid 
before the committee, on that very subject of mortality, of which he has 
had long and melancholy experience. He then produced the case 
of various plantations, and among others of one of his estates in the 
parish of Westmoreland, which in 1801 had had 345 Negroes, but 
which unhappily in 1806 was reduced to 301, being, as he himself 
admits, a decrease of two and a half per cent, per ann. (p. 21.) And he 
adds, that this estate had been "extremely well managed," and had been 

* The proceedings of this committee form a valuable document. It bears 
die date of 24th July, 1807, and is numbered 65. 

West Indian Distress. 193 

well supplied with clothinp^, provisions, and provision grounds.* And 
he seems almost to make a merit of not charging this heavy loss of 44 
human cattle as an item in his expenditure which Parliament was bound 
to meet by a remunerating price. Let us only suppose again, that if, 
during the last 30 years, these 345 slaves, instead of being renewed by 
purchase, had grown like the Maroons at the rate of two and a half 
per cent., they would in 1831 have amounted to 800, whereas, if they 
went on decreasing at the rate of 1801 to 1806, and at the rate at which 
two of his estates, as has been shown, are now decreasing, they would 
have been reduced to little more than an eighth part of that number. 
He does not give the name of this estate, or the case might be more 
exactly ascertained. 

Mr. Colville affirms (261) that cane lands, if broken up, can be ap- 
plied profitably to no other use. But surely, if his own two sugar es- 
tates of Blackheath and Southfield are not exhausted, so as to require 
high manuring, — what crop is it which they might not bear? He has 
now on those estates 250 head of cattle. These are now fed in some 
way. Would it be impossible to feed 250 or 500 more ? And would 
not the effect of that be that he could both supply his agents and slaves 
with wholesome food — with fresh beef on the spot, without importing 
salt beef, or pork, or butter for the former, or herrings for the latter, 
and also have leather to supply all his slaves with the shoes which, by 
the late Order in Council, are to be given them, and which otherwise 
must be imported ? And would not the increased means of manuring 
thus obtained preserve his lands from being exhausted, and make even 
his cane fields more productive ? 

Mr. Colville, though an old and experienced planter, affirms that 
coffee could not grow on low lands (265). He ought to have known that, 
in tropical climates, all lands, whether high or low, if good, are adapted 
to coffee. Witness the mountain land of Jamaica, and the flat, moist 
land of Demerara. Even in Jamaica, the low lands, if fertile, produce 
coffee just as well as the high, if not better. And even the dry wea- 
ther of the low lands is quite as adverse to the productiveness of 
sugar as of coffee. 

Our surplus importation of sugar Mr. Colville states to be one- 
fourth (267 — 272). Now by a limitation of sugar culture, and a con- 
version of slave labour to other objects, as coffee, provisions, cattle, 

* These expressions led to an examination of the supplies furnished to these 
345 slaves by Mr. Colville, as stated by him at page 24 of his evidence. 
They are as follows : — viz. clothing of all kinds for the slaves, and medicines, 
which cost in England £238. The only food supplied to them thence consisted 
of herrings, which cost £314. The remaining supplies from Europe consisted 
either of articles for the use of the white agents, as flour, Irish beef and pork, 
or for the use of the plantation, as wood hoops, coals, bricks, tools, &c., amount- 
ing to £700 or £800. The Island supplies averaged annually about £2600, 
consisting of salaries to agents, and other contingent expenses, including medical 
attendance, probably about £70 or £80, and very little or no provisions for the 
slaves. The great mass of their food, therefore, must have been the production 
of their own labour in their grounds. 

2 c • 

194 West Indian Distress. 

&c., on the part of the planters universally, would not this depressing 
surplus be at once got rid of? Cuba and Brazil cannot enter into com- 
petition with him or his fellow-planters in the home market. If the 
planters were to resolve on lessening their sugar by one-fourth, the 
object they are now pursuing would be effected at once, without the 
interference of Parliament, and without any evil either to the planter 
or the slave, except diminished commissions to consignees be regarded 
as an evil. 

Mr. Colville says (274), he thinks that Cuba and Brazil produce 
sugar cheaper than Jamaica, because the slave trade supplies them 
with labourers at less cost. But if Mr. Colville's two estates had pos- 
sessed, in the course of the last seven years, from 84 to 168 more 
labourers than they now have, and had these been but treated and fed 
as well as the free negroes, the Maroons, in their vicinity, would he 
have had the same cause to complain ? 

Mr. Colville speaks of the large annual amount of what he gives in al- 
lowances to the young and to the old on his estates (275). We have seen 
what these amount to ; — a few herrings and a little cheap clothing n 
the year, with a little medicine and medical attendance. He does not 
feed his slaves. They feed themselves and families from their own 
grounds solely, and by their own labour on Sundays, and twenty-six 
days besides. See his own answer (42 1 ). 

Mr. Colville proposes to cure West India distress by a larger bounty 
(294). But would not a reduction of the quantity of sugar grown, at 
once, and more effectually, produce the same result? The bounty 
is already 5*. or 65. But this, he thinks, is not enough. He demands 10«. 
or 125. more. But even this large increase would not place Jamaica 
on an equality with Demerara and Trinidad, any more than if they 
retain only the present rate of bounty. 

The effect of this proposal would be to raise the bounty from 5s. or 
6s., which it is at present, to 14*. or 15*. ; and as this would raise to 
that extent the price of the exported surplus, and there cannot be two 
prices of one and the same article in the same market, the effect would 
be a rise, to precisely the same extent, on all sugar consumed at home. 
The tax on the public, the British consumer, therefore, for this bounty, 
and independently of it, would be, on 4,400,000 cwt. nearly £3,000,000 
annually, which is probably three to four times as much as the whole 
actual income of all the sugar planters of the West Indies ; and this 
to be paid annually, by a reluctant and impoverished people, for up- 
holding and infinitely aggravating the evils and the crime of that 
slavery they detest. Will they submit to this ? The thing seems 
impossible. Nay, when their eyes are fully open, will they even sub- 
mit to the million and upwards they now pay? And is this Mr. Col- 
ville's only remedy ? He and his West Indian friends may at least first 
try to cut off a fifth or fourth of the present supply of this deathful 
article, and thus both benefit themselves and spare the lives of their 
poor slaves. Even their charging commission only on the short price 
would at once either leave three per cent, in the pocket of the planter, 
OX cause a reduction of 9d. in the_price of every cwt. of sugar. 

West Indian Distress. 195 

Would not Mr. Colville admit that the residence of a proprietor on 
his own estate might save him a large sum in attorneys and managers, 
and would also relieve him of the cost of his establishment in Europe? 
And might he not attend better in this case to his own affairs, and to 
the health and comfort of his slaves ? The small estates, he says, are 
worse off than the large ; but are these items of expense of no moment, 
be the estate large or small? (323, 324). 

There is sufficient pasture land, he admits (329 — 341), in Jamaica, yet 
still beef, pork, and butter are brought from England. In fact, pasture 
is little thought of there to raise food, but chiefly to supply cattle for 
drawing canes to the mill, or sugar to the wharf. Pasture lands, 
he says, are cheap. On this cheap land, why not raise that beef, pork, 
and butter, which is imported at such cost from England and the 
United States ? 


Mr. Phillpotts appears to have been resident in Jamaica for 30 years, 
chiefly as an overseer or manager ; at least it does not appear that at 
so recent a date as 1826 he was himself the proprietor of any planta- 
tions, being then possessed of only 18 slaves. 

A sugar estate, says this witness (485), can be converted to no other 
object of profitable cultivation. But suppose the soil of a sugar estate 
is fertile, yielding from one to two hogsheads an acre from plant canes, 
and that without moxiure, will Mr. Phillpotts venture to affirm that it 
would be capable of yielding nothing else, neither coffee, nor cotton, 
nor corn, nor yams, nor grass, nor provisions ? Exhausted lands, 
whether exhausted by canes or by any other produce, will of course 
yield little or nothing of any article. But will not good land yield al- 
most every other species of produce with less of exhaustion than it will 
yield sugar ? Sugar, it is admitted by this very witness, is one of the 
most exhausting of all crops ; but will no length of fallow restore it ? 

If pasture land is to be bought so cheap as Mr. Phillpotts affirms 
(486, &c.), namely, as low as 14 or 15 shillings an acre, would not the 
cattle, and the beef, and the butter, and the hides reared upon it be 
proportionably cheap ? Would not fair cane land, capable of yielding 
one to two hogsheads an acre, bear very good guinea grass, or cotton, 
or even coffee ? Many West Indian estates of fertile soil have been 
converted into sugar estates, after having for many years borne coffee. 
Is it meant to be affirmed that one, or two, or three, or four sugar 
crops, would make it impossible for that same soil to revert to coffee 
again ? Does not Mr. Phillpotts know that many of the mimerous 
coffee estates planted in Jamaica since 1793 had formerly grown 
sugar, or indigo, or cotton, and had been actually thrown out of the 
culture of these articles during the preceding twenty or thirty years ? 
And will he venture to say that there is any one parish of Jamaica, 
whether " moist" or " dry," "hot" or " cold," in which both sugar and 
coffee may not be, and even are not, grown ? Is not the whole of De- 
merara uniformly both hot and moist ? And does not sugar grow there 
on many scores of estates, without manure; which, as coffee estates, 

196 West Indian Distress. 

had till recently been most productive ? Besides, has he never seen 
corn growing in cane fields, and Guinea grass in the intervals of them ? 


This gentleman is a planter of Demerara, and also of Berbice. 

If his statement as to the cost of rearing slaves in these colonies be 
correct (585), and it is that a Creole slave, by the time he attains the 
age of 14 years, costs the proprietor £226. 14s. lOd. sterling, then 
the whole system from first to last is nothing more than sheer and 
egregious folly. Slavery must have ceased long ago, were all that 
this witness says true. If a slave at 14 costs £226. 14*. lOd. sterling, 
what part of that rnoney can ever be replaced ? But the very fact of the 
expense of rearing such a slave would at once explain the non-increase 
of population in the two Colonies with which he is connected, as well as 
the appalling consumption of human life which, contrary to the course 
of human nature, takes place in them. All such statements and cal- 
culations are at once convicted of exaggeration. No man would rear 
slaves on such terms. 


Mr. Douglas is proprietor of about 700 or 800 slaves in Tobago : he 
has never himself visited the West Indies. 

It seems most surprising that Mr. Douglas, with all his means of in- 
formation, should not have been able to give more precise information 
with respect to the population of Tobago (628). The first year of any 
correct return from that island was for December, 1819. It then was 
found by the Registry that the relative proportion of the sexes was 
such as gave the best hope of the favourable progress of population. 
The numbers were, at the close of that year, according to the Parlia- 
mentary document, No. 424 of 1824, 7633 males and 7837 females ; 
in all, 15,470. 

From that time, at least, the slave population, if properly fed and 
treated, might have been expected to increase rapidly. But what has 
been the fact ? 

By the Registry for 1829 (No. 674 of 1830), the latest we have, the 
numbers were as follows : — 5872 males and 6684 females : in all, 
12,556; showing not only no increase, but a large decrease of 2914 
slaves, to which must be added 134 slaves imported during that time, 
over and above those exported (No. 353 of 1826) ; thus making the 
whole decrease 3048. From this amount, however, there are to be de- 
ducted the manumissions effected in the above ten years. The only 
ofiicial returns of these are to the end of 1825, and they make the 
number 232 (No. 89 of 1823, and No. 353 of 1826). In 1829 there 
are said to have been 16 manumissions ; and if the same number took 
place in each of the three intermediate years, 1826, 1827, and 1828, 
the whole number manumitted in the ten years will amount to 296. 
These, being deducted from 3048, leave a real actual decrease, by death, 
in ten years, of 2752 ; being within fifty of one-fifth part of the whole 

West Indian Distress. 197 

average population of those ten years, namely, about 14,000. It might 
be proved, by official documents, that during the very same period the 
free Negroes of Trinidad, the free Maroon Negroes of Jamaica, and the 
free population of the Mauritius, had increased at the rate of two and a 
half per cent, per annum ; and that in the colonies of Grenada, Deme- 
rara, and Berbice, the free black and coloured class had increased at 
the rate of three per cent, per annum ; while the slaves of Tobago had 
been decreasing at the rate of two per cent, per annum. Here then it 
appears that although this item of heavy loss, incurred by the planters 
of Tobago, is wholly left out of view by Mr. Douglas, in his estimate 
of the sources of their distress, it is most clearly one which, though 
not even remotely glanced at by him, yet, on the very principle on 
which he contends for the distressing effect of the Foreign slave-trade, 
must have had a preponderating influence on the whole question which 
he affects to discuss, namely, the causes of the present distress of the 
West India planters. 

The mere subtraction of 2752 labourers from the small population of 
Tobago, being a fifth of the whole, whether we regard it simply as a 
diminution of capital to that amount, or as enhancing the average 
cost of the sugar, or as lessening the effective means of production ; 
must far outweigh in importance, in forming any just estimate of the 
causes of that distress, all the others he has specified, and must, un- 
questionably, at least outweigh all that can be attributed to the Foreign 
slave trade. 

This, however, is only a small part of the case. It is plain that had 
the 15,470 slaves existing in Tobago on the 31st Dec, 1819, increased 
at the same rate with the free in Trinidad, Jamaica, and Mauritius, — 
to say nothing of those of Grenada, Demerara, and Berbice— (and, the 
climates being alike in all, they must have done so had they been 
equally well fed and equally well pffin other respects), their number on the 
31st Dec, 1829, instead of being reduced to 12,556, would have groztm 
to 19,338 ; making an actual addition of 7218 in that time to their 
labouring population : and this, independently of all the increased 
production which would have resulted from the progressively growing 
amount of effective labour, and which would have been at this time 
sixty per cent, more than it actually is. 

Had Mr. Douglas looked at the Registry returns on the table 
of the House of Commons, he would have saved himself and the com- 
mittee much unnecessary trouble, for he would have seen at once that 
in all the colonies in the West Indies, excepting three, the females ex- 
ceeded the males in the usual and natural proportion, — that in one 
colony, namely, Trinidad, they are now nearly equal, — and that in two 
only, Demerara and Berbice, more particularly the former, is there 
any material excess of males over females. 

As to many other points in the evidence of Mr. Douglas respecting 
freights, non-intercourse with continental markets, &c., it is obvious 
and he himself is forced to admit it, that the evils arise from the West 
Indians alone, and from the restrictions which they and their con- 
signees have mutually and voluntarily chosen to institute : and that by 

198 West Indian Distress. 

themselves, and themselves alone, can they be obviated. These are 
regulated, as he himself also admits, not by law, but by what he 
chooses to call " the colonial system" (640) ; to which, when we add 
the effect of the bounty in preventing the direct transmission of their 
produce to continental Europe, or of its sale or barter in return for 
articles imported from the United States, a great part of their whole 
ground of complaint is at once obviated, or traced to their own free 
choice, and therefore can form no ground of claim for parliamentary 
interference or indemnity. 

Equally out of place is the complaint of this gentleman, arising from 
the alleged insecurity of slavery, produced by the popular feeling in this 
country on the subject (656). To obviate that feeling is wholly im- 
possible. It is beyond the competence even of Parliament. The 
determination of the public to extinguish slavery may be resisted for a 
time, but it cannot be overcome. Nothing, however, can be less true 
than that this circumstance has operated, or can operate, to depress 
the price of colonial produce. It may, without doubt, affect the price 
of estates, and of slaves, in the market; but it has no influence, and 
can have none, either on the quantity or the price of produce. The 
quantity it certainly has not lessened ; on the contrary, it is now 
as great as ever. And it is quantity, the West Indians themselves 
admit, which does and must regulate price. The low price of sugar is 
by their own account the great grievance under which they labour. But 
that is an evil to which anti-slavery projects have in no respect con- 
tributed. It arises from an excess of that very sugar cultivation which 
the authors of those projects hold to be a great calamity as it respects 
the slaves, and which they would gladly see lessened. It is therefore 
wholly to mistake the question at issue, and completely to mistake 
the cause and the remedy of this distress, as arising from low prices, 
to refer to the prevalent feeling of hostility to slavery in this country 
as connected in any degree either with that depression or with its re- 

The enormous gains of consignees, as against the planters, are 
here (670) plainly admitted by Mr. K. Douglas ; but he extenuates 
if he does not defend the arrangement, as being no more than a com- 
pensation for the risks they run. But what, after all, is this but evading 
the law forbidding usury ? Without meaning to defend that law; still 
it is plainly proved, by the long-established and universal prevalence of 
such a system, what are the peculiar and well understood hazards of 
West India speculation. Every man embarking in it must have had 
his eyes open to its risks ; and he, doubtless, must have fully intended 
to take ample security against them. But he has no more claim to be 
relieved from the effects of a failure of his unwarranted and too san- 
guine hopes than a purchaser of lottery tickets who has drawn only 
blanks, or a man who has lost his last stake at Rouge et Noir. 

Ail that follows, on the part of Mr. K. Douglas, only goes to confirm 
what has been said above of the enormous gains of the consignee as 
founded on the long known, and well appreciated, hazards of West 
India speculation. 

West Indian Distress. 199 


This witness is a merchant of Jamaica, and an extensive attorney for 
plantations in that island, where he has resided twelve years, namely 
from 1819 to 1831. He directed thirty estates cultivated by 7000 or 
8000 slaves ; and is himself a proprietor. 

The present distress is owing, he says (688), to low prices, arising 
from distrust about emancipation, caused by clamour at home. But 
how could that produce low prices, unless indeed its tendency were to 
increase quantity ? 

It would seem from Mr. Taylor's evidence (709) that cattle are not 
thought of in Jamaica, but for sugar cultivation. If beef were cheap- 
ened would it not be eaten ? Would not the slaves thrive on it better 
than on their present meagre diet, plantains and herrings ? Cattle 
abound in Cuba and Brazil, and the slaves are fed with them cheaply. 

This gentleman superintending 30 estates and 7000 or 8000 slaves, re- 
siding for the last 12 years in Jamaica, testifies (731) that nothing which 
had passed in England, in regard to Emancipation, had materially 
altered, even down to 1831, the slave's habits, or lessened his labour. 
How then can it have affected either quantities or prices of produce ? 
This is a flat contradiction to some of the other witnesses, by one just 
arrived from the spot after a long residence of 12 years. 

There is an estate for example in this district, St. Thomas in the East 
called Lyssons. In March 1820 there were upon it 516 slaves. In 
March 1824 there were only 476, being a decrease of 40 in four years, 
or ten in a year, just 2 per cent, per annum. What has caused this 
heavy loss, while the Maroons, the free Negroes near Lyssons, increase 
at the rate of 2^ per cent, per annum ? Had the increase been the 
same on this estate of Lyssons, instead of having only 476 slaves in 
March 1824, in the four intervening years from March 1820 the 576 
slaves would have grown to 633; being 157 above the number of 476 
existing in 1821. 

Would not the natural increase of 157 slaves, above the present 
stock, have of itself counteracted the effect of the foreign slave trade 
and many other drawbacks of which he complains ? The value of this 
wasted capital at £50 a slave is £7850, besides all the intermediate 
profits that would have arisen from the labours of the growing gang. 

The following table, taken from authentic records, of the increase 
and decrease of a number of estates in the parish with which Mr. 
Taylor is chiefly connected, St, Thomas in the East, and during the 
very years he was in Jamaica, and some of which Mr, Taylor may him- 
self have managed, is submitted to the public. Can Mr. Taylor 
explain the causes of the difference of mortality there exhibited on 
sugar and coffee estates ; or that between the mortality of the slaves 
on both, and the increase of the Maroons in the adjoining district, as it 
appears in this correct and authentic document? The general result 
is that in 12 years the decrease on the Sugar Estates is 12§ per 
cent., while on the Coffee Estates there is, in the same period, an 
increase of 1-^'^ per cent., and among the Maroons of 30| per cent ? 

200 Parish of St. Thomas in the East — Plantain-Garden-River 
District — Susar Estates. 



















■a j; 


1° ■ 

Si! 2 








T3 .?^ 





"3 b=^ 









Golden Grove 

A. Archdeckne . . . 








Chiswick . . . 

J. and T. Burton . . 







Winchester . . 

T. Cussans .... 





Amity Hall . . 

Heirs of T. Cussans . 








Stoakeshall , , 

Heirs of A. Donaldson 







Rhine .... 

Sir E. H. East, Bart. . 








Duckenfield . . 

Priscilla Franks . . . 








Dalvey . . , . 

Sir A. Grant, Bart. . . 








Plaintain Garden 

River . . . 

Harvey and Co. . . . 








Friendship . . 

Lambie and Co. . . . 





Hordley . . . 

Heirs of M. G. Lewis . 






Arcadia. . . . 

R. Logan 






Whelersfield . . 

T. W. Milner . . . 





Potosi .... 

J. M'Queen .... 





Philipsfield . . 

N.Phillips . . . . 







Pleasant Hall . . 








Holland. . , . 

G.W.Taylor . . . 














Coffee Estates in the same District. 







T3 . 


> a 









J2 a 




Bachelor's Hal 

1 , A. Archdeckne . . . 








. J.Kelly 






House Hill 

. Heirs of J. Kelly . . 





Barracks . 

. S. Francis . . . . . 














Island Head 

. Elmslie 








Greenfield . 

. E.M'Indoe .... 








Moffatt, &c. 

. K. M'Pherson . . . 







Wakefield, &c 

. . P. M'Farlane . . . 







Ben Lomond 

. . T.Ross 





New Monklan 

d . J.Telfair 






Old Monkland 





Newfield . 

. . Thompson 














Return of Maro 




















ncrease by birth 
ecrease bydeath, 
ion of privi- 
in the 12 years. 


Charlestown . 






Moore Town . 
Scot's Hall . , 













Accompong . . 








West Indian Distress. 201 

These tables, first published in the Christian Record of Jamaica, 
No. 8, may be verified by a reference to the registered returns, in the 
Colonial Registry Ofiice, in this country. 

An equally striking document has recently appeared in the same work, 
No. 2. (New series.) It gives a similar and equally correct statement, 
taken from the official registry, of the progress of population on 
seventy-six sugar estates in the parish of Hanover in Jamaica, during 
the twelve years from 1817 to 1829. On these estates, the slaves 
were remarkably well proportioned, the males in 1817 being 9056, 
and the females 9204 : together 18,260. In these twelve years, the 
births were 5345, the deaths 6739, being a decrease by deaths over 
births of 1394. 

The births per annum were rather less than one in forty of the 
population, and the deaths one in 32. The rate of births among the 
free in America and Europe is usually one birth in from seventeen 
to twenty of the population, and the deaths one in about forty. 

The decrease by deaths over births on these estates was, in the twelve 
years, T-| per cent. ; and it is remarkable that, in the last six years of 
that period, the rate of decrease is greater than in the first six years. 
The rate of decrease from 1817 to 1823 was 3f per cent. ; but from 
1823 to 1829 a little more than 4| per cent., making 7| per cent, in 
the whole. Hanover v/as one of the recently disturbed parishes. 

These 18,260 slaves were living at the time in the vicinity of the 
Maroons, Avho increased during the same twelve years at the rate of 
30 per cent. Had their increase kept pace with that of the Maroons, 
not only would the diminution of life to the extent of 1394 have been 
saved, ]3nt 5478 human beings would have been added to the number, 
so as to make the population of these estates, in 1829, 23,738. The 
actual population of them in that year was 17,572 ; but, deducting 
those added in the twelve years by purchase, it was only 16,866, 
making a difference in that one parish, on these seventy-six estates, 
as compared with the Maroons, of 6872, or about 37 per cent. 

There is no census in Jamaica of the freed population ; but there 
cannot exist a doubt that it v/ould furnish, if accurately taken, a cri- 
terion no less decisive of the comparative destructiveness of slavery, 
than the case of the Maroons. 

But there is another view which has been taken of this subject by 
a correspondent, and which we shall here insert in corroboration of 
our own. We can afford room only for the substance of his commu- 
nication, which is as follows : — 

In the late attempt to prove that the continuance of the slave-trade by fo- 
reigners has been the cause of the present distress of the British planters, the 
witnesses state that the price of newly imported slaves is from 220 to 250 dollars, 
that is £48 to £55 sterling, and for Mandingo slaves 300 dollars or £65 — a 
price very much higher than is now given for slaves in the West Indies, with the 
exception of Guiana and Trinidad : hence it is evident that with this exception 
a British planter wishing to extend his cultivation might be supplied with 
slaves on cheaper terms than those on which Brazil and Cuba are now supplied, 
and the alleged greater efficiency of the slaves they bring from the ships would 
be fur more than counterbalanced by their want of skill, and llieir inaptitude to 

2 D 

202 West Indian Dish-ess. 

labour, and still more by the great and admitted mortality which takes place 
on their first importation. 

These facts of the comparative prices of slaves would of themselves be con- 
clusive ; but happily we have farther proof. This is not the first time that the 
British Colonial system has been unable to contend with better systems. 
Indigo has been entirely, and cotton very nearly, driven out of cultivation in 
the West India Colonies, but not in any case by the slave trade of other coun- 
tries, but either by free labour, or by the increase of natural population. 

The increased cultivation of cotton in the United States throws a remarkable 
light on this subject; for that increase has arisen not from importation, but 
from the natural growth of population. The slaves in the United States in 
1810 were 1,191,364, and, as they appear to have been then increasing at the 
rate of 30,000 per annum, their numbers in 1808 (the time when the African 
slave-trade was abolished both in that country and in Great Britain) may be taken 
at about 1,130,000. In 1830, however, they amounted, by actual census, to 

That this vast difference arose from natural increase is undoubted ; for 
we hear nothing said of an African slave-trade, and the slave-breeders of Vir- 
ginia would watch the foreign importation of slaves into the southern states with 
as much care as the corn growers of Norfolk would watch an importa- 
tion of foreign corn into Lancashire. Besides, the writers in the United States 
who so deeply lament the increase of the slave population, never mention slave 
trading as one of the causes of that increase. 

The result of this great increase in the slave population has been a still greater 
increase in the growth, and reduction in the price, of cotton. I have not seen 
any estimate of the whole growth of cotton in the United States, about the time 
of the Peace, when the foreign slave-trade was renewed ; but the comparative 
imports into Great Britain will form a pretty fair criterion, being in the latter 
period considerably more than threefold what they were in the former. The 
price has undergone a corresponding change ; for we find it has fallen from an 
average of Is. 6ld. in the years 1815 to 1819, to 6^d. per lb; in 1827 to 1831. 

The imports of cotton from America into Great Britain, in the above first 
five years, averaged 165,046 bales annually, and in the last five years 556,307 

In the Brazils, where slave-trading has been extensively carried on, they have 
only increased their growth of cotton about 25 per cent., the whole increase not 
being one-twentieth part of that of the United States. The average imports, 
chence, of the first five years into Great Britain was 128,472 bales, and in the 
last five only 161,471. 

I have seen no authentic account of the slave population in the West Indies, 
after the abolition of the slave trade, earlier than 1818, when it was 746,651. If 
the decrease of the ten preceding years had been at the same rate as the suc- 
ceeding six years, the numbers in 1808 would have been about 793,271 ; but, 
from the greater loss of slave life nearer the time of importation, it may very 
safely be assumed that they exceeded 800,000 ; we will take this to have been 
the amount in 1808. 

Now, if 1,130,000 slaves in the United States have increased between 1808 
and 1830 to 2,010,436; at the same rate these 800,000 would have increased 
to 1,423,,317. Instead of which, by the latest accounts, the slave population of 
the West Indies noiu is only 678,527, being less than it ought to have been, 
had it increased as in America, by 744,793. 

Notwithstanding the great and gradual decrease which has taken place in 
our slave population, our import of sugar from the West India Colonies re- 
mains very nearly what it was in 1814. In that year it was 1-90,000 tons, and 
in 1830 185,000 tons. 

The Brazilians had to contend with the Americans in the growth of cotton, 
5nd in this article they increased only 25 per cent.; whilst in sugar, where they 

West Indian Distress. 203 

had to contend with the British, their growth has increased from 30,0GOtons in 1814 
to 70,000 tons in 1 830, or 130 per cent., according to Tmeman and Cook's Tables. 
Now if their advantages over the British arose from slave-trading, they had just 
the same advantage over the Americans in the growth of cotton ; and yet the 
Americans, without slave-trading, have very greatly checked the slave-trade of 
the Brazils for the growth of cotton ; and, had our slaves increased equally, we 
should have done the same with respect to sugar. 

We should have had the same advantage over the slave-traders of Brazil as 
the Americans have had. Instead of a small decrease on our imports of sugar, 
there might have been an increase of more than twice the quantity grown in our 
West Indies, and more than three times the increased growth of the slave-trading 
colonies since 1814, which, according to Trueman and Cook, amounts in all 
only to 110,000 tons. The Americans have more than trebled their growth 
of cotton, whilst all the slave-trading sugar growers have only added 110,000 
tons, or between 60 and 70 per cent, to their growth of sugar, which in 1814 was 
175,000 tons. 

We have heard of the enormous extent of the slave trade since the peace in 
1814; it has often been estimated in those 18 years at 100,000 per annum. And 
the sugar is the principal article of cultivation which these immense numbers of 
slaves have produced, and which it appears is only equal to 115,000 tons. What 
must have become of these slaves ? A reference has already been made to what 
Mr. Jeremie says in his Essays on Slavery, " that swarms of Negro slaves, 
equal, at the lowest calculation, to the whole of their original number (70,000), 
have been introduced into Martinique ; but that at the end of 15 short years all 
their importations had been swept away, and the slave population stands now 
much as it did." Mr. M'Donnel, in his evidence before the Committee, also 
speaks of the great mortality of the new slaves in the Brazils and Cuba. 

Enough, then, has been said to prove the absurdity of supposing that the 
Brazils and Cuba have had any advantage, from their importation, over countries 
not importing ; and, to prove this, let us suppose that the same system had 
been going on in America, where noiu their natural increase is at the rate of 
50,000 per annum. If these, instead of having been reared, had been added 
by importation, on the estimate of only one half the number imported surviving, 
it would of course require 100,000 per annum to be imported, which, at £50 
each, would have made £5,000,000 ; whilst the value of their average exports of 
cotton to Great Britain cannot have been more than £3,600,000 per annum. 
Such a sum would have exceeded the value of the whole exports of their great 
staple article. But, if this is absurd, how much more ridiculous is the calcula- 
tion of one of the witnesses (Mr. Innes, see supra p. 196) that it costs 
£226. 14s, lOd. sterling to raise a child to fourteen years ! If this were true, 
then it must have cost the Americans more than £11,000,000 per annum to 
raise the present annual addition to their slave population. 

If, then, it has now been made clear that the advantage of the Brazilian and 
Cuba sugar growers is not in slave trading, it will be easy to show in what it 
does consist : namely, in the residence of the foreign and the non-residence of the 
British planters ; in the enormous interest paid in various ways to mortgagees in 
this country, almost all estates being mortgaged ; and in the decrease of our own 
slave population, when it ought to have increased. If they were rid of these 
disadvantages, and Negro population were to increase, as they would, if free, at 
the rate of 2| per cent, per annum, besides saving the loss of life which is now 
going on, there can be no doubt of their competing with Brazil and Cuba as 
successfully in the growth of sugar, as the Americans, by means of the natural 
increase of their Negro population, are doing in the growth of cotton. 

But it may be said that, if slaves increased so fast, they would fall in price ; 
if they did fall in price, land must, in consequence of an increased population, 
rise in value; hence this would be a transfer of value from the slaves to the land 
— from the worst and most uncertain tenure to tlie very best. 

204 West India Distress. 

Again : it may be said that, in some of the islands, there will not be land 
enough for them to cultivate ; of course, when tliat is the case, slavery must, 
at length, cease of itself, and the people must emigi'ate, in search of employment. 
But men are so attached to their native places that they would sooner give a 
high rent for land than leave the place of their birth : thence the planters, bemg 
the owners of tlie soil, would be great gainers even by such an increase of popu- 
lation as would induce them to give their slaves their freedom. 

In short, the planters should adopt those means of relief which are evidently 
within their own power, such as residing on their own properties ; managing their 
own concerns ; and increasing their labouring population ; and, having thus done 
what they could for themselves, they might then seek such help from government 
as would be adapted to their wants. Instead of which, they are desiring, by 
means of an increased drawback on sugar exported, to raise the price of sugar so 
as to add one or two millions more to the 1,000,000 or 1,200,000 which are now 
paid to them in that shape, and which would increase and not lessen the oppres- 
sion of the slave. 

Surely no such enormous sums will be suffered to be wasted on an attempt to 
bolster up a system which, independently of its deep guilt, cannot stand. 

There are three causes for the present distress : — 

1. Debts contracted, paying, in some shape, a very high rate of interest. 

2. The expense of agency in consequence of the non-residence of the planters. 

3. The dreadful waste of Negro life. 

No remedy can of course be effectual without having a direct reference to these 
causes of distress. 

The amount of capital borrowed, or the rate which on an average it costs the 
planters, could not be easily ascertained ; but if we assume the amount at 
£15,000,000, and that the planters are paying on that sum 10 per cent, more 
than the rate at which the government could borrow it, and of course afford to 
lend it to them, — if this were lent by government, and equitably divided amongst 
the planters, this one item would be a saving of a million and a half per annum. 
The residence of the planters would save about a million more. And if the planters 
would, at the same time, co-operate with the government in those measures 
which, by freeing the slaves, would put an end to the waste of human life, and 
add rapidly to the Negro population, as freedom adds to it in all parts of the 
world, the gain to them would be immense in a variety of ways. 

This change in the condition of the slaves would probably bring the produc- 
tion of the West Indies for a time within the consumption of the mother country, 
and thus render the bounty on exportation nugatory. But this bounty should at 
any rate cease, and also all extra duty on East India sugar, which, with the 
increasing number of slaves, would keep in check any great advance on the price 
of sugar : and, whilst such advanced price did continue, it would be cheerfully 
borne by the country, from a conviction that it would be but temporary, and 
would ultimately produce a supply at such a price as would more effectually 
destroy the slave trade for the growth of sugar than has been done by the 
Americans for the growth of cotton. And all these advantages to the planters 
would be obtained without any cost whatever to the country. 

In any case, and whether this reasoning be just or otherwise, slavery must 
inevitably cease. Its abominations can no longer be endured by this country. 

We conclude, with recommending these considerations to our Colonists gene- 
rally, and with calling the attention of Parliament and the public to the appalling 
fact of the comparatively enormous waste of human life produced from year to 
year, by British slavery, which so clearly appears in the preceding pages ; a sub- 
ject to which we intend soon again to recur. 

rriiUed by S. EagLitci-, Jun., 14, Bartholome-.v Close, LoiKlun. 



No. 98.] JULY, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 8. 

STATE AND THE COLONIES; viz., 1. Constitution of Trinidad; 2. 
Liberation of Forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves; 3. Persecution of Samuel 
Swinej/, a Jamaica Slave ; 4. Female Flogging in Jamaica; .5. Female Flog- 
ging, SfC, in Bahamas : 6. Slave Insurrection ; 7. Report of the Bishop of 
Jamaica; 8. Free Black and Coloured classes, changes in their Civil Condition; 
9. The Protection given to Slaves in Jamaica by Law Illustrated. 

1. Constitution of Trinidad. 

In a parliamentary paper of the present year, 1832, No. 212, some 
important communications between the Secretary of State and the 
local Government of Trinidad have recently appeared. A great part 
of them refers to the finances and expenditure of the Colony, and 
therefore will not require any detailed analysis from us. In the course 
of the correspondence however there occur various incidental obser- 
vations, which merit particular notice, as marking the general cha- 
racter of the policy of his Majesty's Government in regard to the Slave 
Colonies ; and to these we shall take occasion briefly to advert. 

One regulation laid down by Lord Goderich in his despatch of the 
27th of May, 1831, is in this view highly important. It is this: 
" Henceforth every person entering into the public service in Tri- 
nidad must be previously divested of property in plantations within 
the Colony, or in agricultural slaves, wherever situated ; and every 
judicial and legal officer of the Crown, except the judicial assessors 
in the criminal court, must, though not for the first time taking office 
in the Colony, divest themselves of such property within two years from 
the date of the receipt of this despatch." We could have wished that 
they had been equally debarred from holding domestic slaves. The 
sound policy of such a restriction in this case also is equally unques- 

A discussion of considerable moment is incidentally raised, in the 
course of the same despatch, respecting the political constitution 
which ought to be given to Trinidad. The colonists had peti- 
tioned " for such a constitution as would afford the colonists an ef- 
fectual control over the taxation and expenditure to which they are 
called to contribute ;" and they refer to the case of Canada as justi- 
fying their application. Lord Goderich says in reply, " I avow, with- 
out reserve, my opinion that justice and sound policy dictate the 
extension of such a form of government to every Colony fitted for its 
reception." There is between Canada and Trinidad, however, one all- 
important distinction, to which the petitioners do not allude. 

" Their silence cannot have arisen from any ignorance of the importance 
which has been and is attached to that distinction in this country, and is, I pre- 
sume, rather to be attributed to their conscious inability to repel the objection 

VOL. V. 2 E 

206 Constitution of Trinidad. 

by sound argument. In Trinidad a large majority of the whole population are 
slaves. In Canada slavery is not only unknown in practice, but prohibited by 

" The petitioners ascribe all the evils of which they complain to a system of 
government ' under which laws are made by those who are to govern, and not 
by those who are to obey them,' and to the absence of ' any control (by means 
of election) vested in that body for whose benefit laws are made.' I acknow- 
ledge and respect the justice of the principle assumed and inculcated in these 
expressions. I have not any disposition to deny that it is highly conducive, if 
not essential, to the enactment of good laws, that the lawgiver should have a 
general identity of interest with those for whom he legislates, and an habitual 
sympathy with their feelings. I dissent from the petitioners merely in the appli- 
cation which they make of these general truths. Theirs is a society in which 
the great mass of the people to be governed are slaves, and their proposal is, that 
the laws should be made by a body composed of and elected by slave proprietors. 
Bringing this plan to the test of those general principles which I have already 
quoted in their own words, it is to be enquired how such a scheme would pro- 
vide for that identity of interest which they rightly think ought to subsist between 
the legislature and the subject. 

" The condition of slavery is, that the remuneration of the labourer is mea- 
sured not by the value of his services, but by the amount of hj^ indispensable 
wants ; his interest, therefore, is to do the smallest possible amount of work, and 
to consume at his owner's expense the greatest possible amount of food, clothing, 
and other necessaries. The interest of the owner, on the other hand, is pre- 
cisely the reverse ; it is, that the greatest possible amount of labour should be 
obtained at the least expenditure which is compatible with the preservation of the 
labourer. The interest of the slave consists in the acquisition of his freedom at 
the earliest possible period, and at the lowest possible price. It is the interest 
of the owner to protract the servitude of his slaves, and to enhance to the utmost 
degree the price of freedom. The slave has a strong and constant motive for de- 
siring the abolition of those laws or customs by which his own class in society 
are degraded ; the owner has an equally powerful motive for maintaining the 
exclusive privileges of the favoured class to which he belongs. I add (not with- 
out reluctance) that the general diffusion of religious knowledge and education is 
the highest interest of the slave, because it would prepare him for the equal parti- 
cipation of all civil rights, and enable him 'to assert that claim with effect. For 
the same reason, the owner has an interest in obstructing the advance of know- 
ledge amongst this part of the population. 

" It will of course be replied that the oppositions of interest to which I have 
adverted are apparent only, and have no real existence ; and that all men of 
large and liberal minds will perceive that in promoting the comforts, the manu- 
mission, and the moral improvement of their slaves, they are really advancing 
their own welfare. It is unnecessary to my present argument that I should deny 
this assertion ; on the contrary I am most ready to admit that a course of con- 
duct dictated by such generous and enlightened views would best coincide with 
the permanent interests of those by whom it should be observed. I confine my- 
self to the assertion that there exists between the slaves and their proprietors that 
palpable, apparent, and immediate contrariety of interests, by which, as all ex- 
perience shows, men are habitually guided in their use of power. The proprie- 
tary body in Trinidad cannot reasonably regard as any reflection upon them a 
distrust which is founded upon the general testimony of history in all countries, 
and in every state of society. 

" I proceed to apply to the schen)e suggested by the petitioners the second of 
those tests of a good legislative constitution on which they rely ; namely, a gene- 
ral sympathy of feeling between the lawgiver and the subjects of his laws. They 
propose that the legislature shall be chosen exclusively by and from amongst 
that class who, as freemen, already possess a proud and all-important distinc- 

Constitution of Trinidad. 207 

tion : while their laws would be made for a people labouring under the degrada" 
tion of personal slavery. The one body are Europeans by birth and descent' 
deeply conscious of their superiority over the less civilized inhabitants of the 
globe : the other are of African birth or origin, with all the peculiarities, moral 
and physical, which distinguish that unfortunate race. In short, society in Tri- 
nidad is divided into castes as strongly marked as those of Hindostan ; nor can 
any man, who has but an ordinary knowledge of the history and general cha- 
racter of mankind, doubt what must be the effect of such distinctions, when, in 
addition to their other privileges, the superior race are entrusted with a legislative 
authority over the inferior. 

" Even had these general principles never been brought to the test of actual 
experiment, I should have been disposed to place great reliance upon them. But 
the records of this office demonstrate, in the clearest manner, the danger of con- 
fiding to the same persons the domestic and the legislative authority over a slave 
population. I am unwilling to characterise, by any language of my own, the 
slave codes which have grown up in the thirteen West India Colonies possessing 
legislative assemblies. Their apologists rest their vindication on the plea that 
they have fallen into desuetude, and were originally intended rather to excite a 
wholesome terror, than to be strictly executed. It were easy to cite colonial 
authorities of the greatest eminence for opinions in reprobation both of the written 
and the unwritten law of slavery, expressed in terms much more emphatic than I 
am willing, without an evident necessity, to adopt. I gladly admit that, since 
the attention of the people of this country has been called to the subject, many 
valuable improvements have been made by the legislative assemblies in this code : 
yet, at this day, there remain, on the statute books of many of the islands, enact- 
ments to which nothing but the feelings of caste could ever have given birth, and 
which, in the absence of such feelings, would at once be repealed. 

" But experience has proved, not merely what a colonial assembly will enact 
on. the subject of slavery, but also what they will refuse to do for the mitigation 
and gradual extinction of that state. Without engaging in the invidious task of 
contrasting the slave code established in those colonies over which the legislative 
powers of the King in Council extends, with the enactments in force in the islands 
possessing legislative assemblies, I may assert, without the risk of contradiction, 
that the difference is extreme ; and that the slave law of British origin is through- 
out distinguished from the other by its closer adherence to the principles of justice 
and humanity. Solicitations the most urgent for the adoption of the provisions 
of the Orders in Council have been addressed, for eight successive years, to the 
Houses of General Assembly in the West Indies by his Majesty, by Parliament, 
and by the people of Great Britain. But, on this subject, both entreaty and ad- 
monition have been hitherto ineffectual. It would involve a total sacrifice of 
consistency, if his Majesty were advised to establish a system of government in 
Trinidad, against the consequences of which, throughout the Antilles, it has been 
my duty, within the last three months, to remonstrate in terms even yet more 
explicit than those which my predecessors in office employed on the same 

" You would entirely misapprehend the motives which dictate the present 
despatch, should you suppose it intended to convey a reproach against any class 
of society in Trinidad. I advert to the unhappy distinction which alienates the 
proprietors from the cultivators of the soil, not as matter of censure, but as 
the subject of deep concern. It deprives the Colony of the blessing of free insti- 
tutions, and imposes on his Majesty's Government a duty most foreign to their 
general inclination and policy in refusing them. I know not how to reconcile 
the full enjoyment of civil freedom with the maintenance of domestic slavery. 
In a society of which the law or custom recognizes the relation of master and 
slave, it is necessary that the most effective security should be taken against the 
abuse, not only of the domestic authority of the owner, but of all those powers 
with whicli he may be entrusted, either as a magistrate or a legislator. But cx-r 

208 Liberation of forfeited Africans and Croivn Slaves. 

perience has demonstrated that a colonial assembly are in reality exempt from all 
responsibility, and free from all restraint, so long as they fall in with the opinions 
of the narrow circle to which the choice of members is confined. It is, therefore, 
not in the spirit of reproach or of suspicion, but in deference to the plain rules 
of justice, that his Majesty's Government decline to place this irresponsible 
power into hands where it would be continually liable to be abused at the ex- 
pense of the great body of the people. 

" The general conclusion, therefore, to which I arrive on this part of the case 
is, that it is the duty of his Majesty's Government to prefer the substance of 
freedom to its forms ; and that, however imposing may be the sounds of a Bri- 
tish Constitution and of a Legislative Assem.bly, they ought not, under the shelter 
of those venerable names, to concur in establishing a form of government de- 
ficient in that which forms the elementary principle and the peculiar excellence of 
our own — the equal protection of every class of men living beneath its rule. 

" There are not wanting other topics upon which the compatibility of a Le- 
gislative Assembly in Trinidad with the prosperity of the island, and even with 
the general enjoyment of civil liberty itself, might be denied : I refer to the pau- 
city of the inhabitants to whom the elective franchise could upon any scheme be 
given — to the extraordinary influence which a very few individuals would exer- 
cise over the wliole elective body — to the inaptitude of the law, customs, and 
privileges of Parliament to the condition of a small colonial society, in which the 
few white inhabitants are all connected with or dissociated from each other by 
domestic, commercial, or party relations or antipathies — to the absence of any 
public opinion, in the sense in which that term is understood in Great Britain, 
to control and prevent the abuse of the unlimited power of an assembly — and to 
the want of that balance of various interests, amongst the constituent and re- 
presentative bodies, which can alone prevent the adoption of partial and oppres- 
sive measures. I might readily illustrate, by reference to the recent history of 
the smaller colonies, the force and practical importance of the objections which 
I have thus noticed to this form of government, when established amongst a 
very limited population. So severely has the inconvenience been felt that it has 
become necessary to attempt the consolidation of some of the representative as- 
semblies into one united body, in order to secure to the members greater freedom 
of action, and to their constituents a relief from vexations for which the enjoy- 
ment of the elective franchise and an independent legislature has not been found 
an equivalent. These, however, are invidious topics, which I gladly pass over 
in very general terms, not because they are in themselves unimportant, nor be- 
cause they are irrelevant to the present discussion, but because the practical 
decisions which I have announced may be sufficiently vindicated without resort- 
ing more directly to the aid of arguments which might give pain to some, towards 
whom it is at once my inclination and my duty to manifest the utmost possible 
tenderness and respect." 

It is impossible to laud too highly the just and philosophical views 
which have dictated these observations. 

2. Liberation of forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves. 

A parliamentary paper of the 4th October, 1831, No= 304, contains 
copies of reports respecting the state, treatment, employment, or 
complete enfranchisement of Africans, condemned under the acts 
abolishing the slave trade, since 16th Oct. 1828. 

The process of their enfranchisement was cautiously commenced by 
Sir George Murray, who, in a circular despatch, addressed to the 
governors of the different slave colonies, on the 16th Oct. 1828, 
instructed them to apprize all Africans so condemned that they 
should " be permitted to live in the colonies precisely on the same 

Liberation of forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves. 209 

conditions as any other free persons of African birth and descent," 
" so long as their own continued good conduct may render it un- 
necessary to resort to any measures of coercion." And certificates 
of liberty were ordered to be given to all " who should either have 
served out their apprenticeship, or who, not being apprenticed, should 
be reported capable of earning their own subsistence ; and that none 
should hereafter be apprenticed who were not incapable of maintain- 
ing themselves by their own labour." 

In compliance with these instructions, a considerable number of 
these Africans have been liberated in many of the colonies ; and the 
accounts hitherto received of their conduct, in the enjoyment of their 
liberty, have been of the most satisfactory kind. We regret, however, 
that more distinct reports have not been received from all the co- 
lonies, and especially from the Mauritius and the Cape of Good 
Hope, where,,, no less than in the West Indies, the number of such 
persons was very considerable.* The silence, however, of the local 
authorities on the subject may be considered, in conjunction with the 
testimony of Viscount Goderich, noticed hereafter, as indicating the 
same favourable result which has accompanied the measure in the 
various colonies from which reports have been received. 

In Antigua, the number set free in the month of December, 1829, 
was upwards of 300. The latest account given of their conduct is 
contained in a despatch of Sir Patrick Ross, dated 25th May, 
1829 ; in which he says that it affords him much satisfaction to 
have the honour of reporting that during a period of five months, 
which has expired since they were set at large, I have not received a 
single complaint against them ; nor has one of them been committed 
by a magistrate for the most trifling offence. There has not, to my 
knowledge, been any application from them on the score of poverty, 
and they appear to be in general industriously occupied in providing 
for their own livelihood." 

That their conduct continued to be equally praiseworthy, to a 
much later period, may be assumed from the fact that, on the 17th 
August, 1831, Viscount Howick stated in the House of Commons 
his entire satisfaction with the result of this experiment, and the 
encouragement he had thence derived to proceed to the emancipa- 
tion of all slaves belonging to the crown in every colony where such 
were to be found. (Reporter, vol. iv. No. 89, p. 453.) 

We need not pursue farther the subject of the apprenticed Africans, 
who appear to have been completely enfranchised in all the West In- 
dian colonies, as well as in Antigua, to the number of at least 1000 or 
1500 more, and that without any inconvenience either to the Africans 
themselves, or to the communities of which they form a part. Indeed, 
the complete success of the experiment is stated by Lord Goderich in a 
circular despatch to the governors of slave colonies, dated r2th 
March, 1831, to have been his inducement for proceeding to eman- 
cipate all the slaves belonging to the crown in all the colonies. 

* The uniform good conduct of the many thousand persons of this descrip- 
tion liberated, from the first moment of their importation, at Sierra Leone is 
already matter of history. See Reporter, vol. iii. No. 59. 

210 Liberation of forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves. 

This despatch is contained in a parliamentary paper, printed by 
order of the House of Commons, on the 6th October, 1831, num- 
bered 305, and is as follows : — 

" His Majesty's Government have had under their serious consideration the 
circumstance that, in several of his Majesty's possessions abroad, there are Ne- 
groes held in slavery as the property of the crown. The King's Government have 
felt it their duty humbly to represent to his Majesty that this is a species of pro- 
perty which many considerations concur to recommend that the crown should 
forthwith relinquish ; and his Majesty has been graciously pleased to direct that 
measures should be taken accordingly for releasing these Negroes. 

" From all the enquiries which I have been enabled to make, I am not led to 
apprehend that any practical inconvenience will arise, either to these persons 
themselves or to the colonial communities of which they are a part, from their 
immediate enfranchisement. In the year 1828, a Circular Instruction, of which' 
I enclose you a copy, was issued to the governors of those colonies in which 
there were Negroes forfeited to the crown under the Abolition Laws, the purport 
of which was, to direct that those Negroes should be placed upon the footing of 
other free persons of African birth or descent, and left to seek their own subsist- 
ence. In some of those colonies, the number of forfeited Negroes amounted to 
several hundreds. The reports which have since been received, from the respec- 
tive governors, fully justify the expectations which were entertained, that the 
people in question would be able and willing to support themselves by honest 
means, without being a charge upon the funds either of the Government or of 
the colonies, and without detriment to the colonial societies. The experience thus 
obtained affords a satisfactory assurance that the Negroes, now the property of 
the crown, will, when manumitted, support themselves by their own exertions, in 
a manner equally innocuous. I am aware, however, that in the case of these 
Negroes, as of others, some instances will probably occur in which the aid of 
Government may be required by persons who are incapacitated through age or 
infirmity. Cases such as these must be provided for in the manner which you 
will perceive to have been pointed out by the enclosed despatch, in regard to si- 
miliar cases occurring amongst the forfeited Negroes after their manumission. The 
charge which such a provision has been found to impose upon Government is of 
veiy trifling amount. 

" I understand that many of the slaves belonging to the crown in the colonies 
are either given gratuitously, or let out, to public functionaries. It may thus be 
necessary to give time to their employers either to make agreements with the 
Negroes, for retaining their voluntary services in return for wages after their 
manumission, or to supply themselves in some other way with the services which 
they require. You will therefore allow one month, and no more, to elapse, be- 
fore you carry into full effect his Majesty's commands, by completing the enfran- 
chisement ef all Negroes the property of the crown." 

In the case of the Mauritius, the instructions given by Lord 
Goderich (bearing date 29 July, 1831) were modified in some 
measure by the peculiar circumstances of that island. 

" Considerations of a general nature and of great importance," he 
says, " have induced his Majesty's government to regard the en- 
franchisement of the slaves belonging to the crown, in Maaritius 
and elsewhere, as one which is absolutely indispensable, and which 
must be carried into eflPect without any farther delay than may be 
necessary for ensuring, as far as possible, the future welfare and 
good conduct of the Negroes in question." 

The following are the principles he lays down for effecting thi& 
©bject : — ; 

Liberation of forfeited Africans and Croivn Slaves. 211 

*' ist. The enfranchisement of all Government slaves whatsoever is to be 
effected within twelve months from the date of your receipt of this despatch. 

" 2dly. Wages at the market rate of the colony are to be offered to those who 
may, at the time of their enfranchisement, be employed as labourers, couriers, 
messengers, boatmen, or mechanics in the several departments of the public ser- 
vice ; and the same wages are to be secured to them for one year from that time, 
provided they be willing to work, and do actually perform a fair portion of work 
in return for such wages. After the expiration of the year, they will continue to 
be hired, or not, according to the demands of the public service for their labour, 
as well as according to their willingness to be employed. 

'* Srdly. Those who are employed as domestic servants by the governor or 
other public oiScers will, of course, be at liberty to enter into contracts for con- 
tinuing their services to their employers, if desired, in return for wages, the 
amount of which must be adjusted by the parties as in other cases of hiring free 
servants, but the wages must be paid by the officers and not from the colonial 

" 4thly. The issue of rations, clothes, or other allowances must cease from the 
date of their liberation, in respect of all the Negroes, except in cases hereinafter 
specified ; and except the aged, the infirm, and the orphans, who must continue 
to be maintained at the public charge. 

" 5thly. For those to whom the public service does not afford a prospect of 
employment on wages, and also for those domestics whom their present employers 
are unwilling to retain on wages, it will be necessary that some provision should 
be made, if there be no such demand for their labour in the colony as will enable 
them to subsist themselves. In this case, grants of land sufficient for their sub- 
sistence must be assigned to them, together with a supply of such implements as 
may be necessary for the cultivation thereof, and rations for one year, as recom- 
mended by the Commissioners of Eastern Enquiry. Whether an issue of 
rations for a further period be required (as conjectured by the Commissioners 
of Colonial Enquiry) will be seen at the expiration of the former; and, unless 
it be absolutely indispensable for the subsistence of the Negroes, it must not be 

" 6thly. Those who are hired out by the Government to private individuals 
will be at liberty to continue in the service of those individuals on the same 
terms, witli the difference of receiving for themselves as wages the amount of 
their hire, and relinquishing their claim upon the Government for clothing and 
maintenance. If they are unwilling to continue in those situations they will be 
free to quit them ; but they must fully understand that if they do so voluntarily, 
not being discharged by their employers, they will not receive any assistance 
from the Government in seeking the means of subsistence. If any be discharged 
by their present employers, and are unable to meet with others, they may be 
located on grants of land, under the same rules of location as I have already- 

" 7thly. Those who have been apprenticed must serve out the terms of their 
apprenticeships, but must be subject to no other discipline or control than is 
lawfully in use in respect of apprentices of free condition. 

" 8th!y. In carrying into effect the liberation of the Government slaves, you 
will not fail to attach to the grants of freedom a proviso that the persons so en- 
franchised shall not be capable of holding any property in slaves. There are 
many considerations, to which it is not necessary that I should here advert, which 
render it highly important that such a condition should in every instance be 
strictly enforced." 

He objects to certain proposals that had been made of giving to 
these slaves only a modified kind of freedom, as he thought it better 
to effect " an exchange at once of all the obligations of slavery for 

212 Liberation of forfeited Africans and Crown Slaves. 

those of freedom," so as to withdraw from them " all means of 
subsistence not derived from voluntary and independent labour." In 
the ease of the Crown slaves in the West Indies, he had seen no 
reasons for delaying their immediate enfranchisement, and they were 
set free, without any delay, to the amount of many hundreds. As 
doubts had been raised, however, respecting the character of the 
Crown slaves in Mauritius, he would permit the local government to 
modify the means he had proposed for carrying into effect the 
indispensable measure of emancipating them : but it must be clearly 
understood that whatever those modifications might be, and " what- 
ever plan may be proposed, must contemplate the adoption of the 
necessary measures (namely, for effecting their emancipation) within 
twelve months from the receipt of this despatch, and must be di- 
rected towards the placing the Negroes in a condition comprising all 
the essentials of freedom," p. 6. 

The result of these enlightened and decisive instructions, respecting 
the slaves in Mauritius, upwards of 1200 in number, will not be 
known for some months to come. 

The only colony in the West Indies in which the benevolent pur- 
poses of the government on this subject appear to have met with 
obstruction has been Trinidad. The council of that island admit 
that the Crown has a right to enfranchise all slaves either escheated 
or forfeited; but they plead for either retaining as labourers, or 
selling as slaves, what they call the colonial gang — a body of about a 
hundred Negroes, whom they claim as the property of the inhabitants 
of Trinidad, being held, they say, by them, " under a title as valid as 
that by which any slaves are owned by individuals," having been 
bought with the " colonial money." Lord Goderich ably and un- 
ansv/erably repels this claim, as wholly unsupported by any law. If 
these Negroes are indeed property, he argues, they can be only the 
property of the king ; that which is loosely termed public property, 
being really vested in him alone, in trust for the benefit of his 
subjects in Trinidad, and not in the colonists, who have no corporate 
rights. In the performance of this trust, it belongs to him (the king), 
and to him alone, acting by his ministers, who are responsible to 
parliament for their advice, to decide how the individuals in question 
can be employed most advantageously for the public service. We 
will not enter upon his legal argument, which appears to us incon- 
trovertible, but proceed to the conclusion to which the course of that 
argument brings his Lordship, and which he thus states: — 

" The practical question which presents itself, therefore, is, whether the general 
interests of the colony, the only legitimate object of consideration, would be more 
advanced by the manumission of these slaves, or by their continued detention in 
slavery. Were I to regard that interest as confined to the single question of profit 
and loss, I should still entertain a strong belief that it would be best promoted by 
the enfranchisement of the slaves. The council, in their minute, have taken the 
question entirely for granted, and assume as incontrovertible that the labour 
exacted of these persons could not be performed with equal economy, if free 
labourers were employed at wages fairly representing the value of their services. 
To the accuracy of this assumption I cannot, however, thus promptly subscribe. 
It is well worthy of a very close enquiry whether in this particular instance it is 

Liberation of forfeited Africans, and Croicn Slaves. 213 

really frugal to save the payment of wages by undertaking all the onerous obliga- 
tions of a slave owner. Let it on the one side be ascertained what the average 
annual rate of wages would be, and then contrast with that charge all that must 
be expended for the food, lodging, clothing, and medical care of the slaves, if 
estimated on such terms as their necessities justly require. Add to this a fair 
allowance for the risk of life and health, and the necessity of replacing the dead 
or infirm by new purchases ; with the probable charge of maintaining young 
children bora of the female slave, and such of the members of the gang as may 
survive their powers of labour. To all this let a further addition be made for the 
expenses of superintendence, and especially for the loss sustained by the torpid 
and inefficient exertions of men working without any other motive than the fear 
of punishment. A calculation from which any of these elements is excluded must 
lead to fallacious results. A calculation which should fairly embrace them all 
would, I believe, show that the employment of slaves, in any labour which does 
not impose the most extreme fatigue, is, even to private individuals, and when 
viewed only in the narrowest commercial light, much less advantageous than is 
usually supposed ; and that the momentary saving in wages is, in the course of 
a very few years, more than compensated by losses and liabilities, which the 
council in framing their minute forgot to estimate. The labour of slaves, when 
not under the superintendence of persons stimulated to vigilance by personal in- 
terest, is still less likely to be really economical; and' experience has shown that 
public works are more cheaply executed by contract than even by free labourers 
under the control of public officers. In our penal colonies, notwithstanding the 
apparent cheapness of convict labour, the scarcity of free labourers, and the diffi- 
culty of finding proper persons to undertake the execution of public works, these 
are upon the whole, in the opinion of the most competent judges, more econo- 
mically performed by contract than by convicts in the immediate service of the 
Government. I have no doubt that the same principle would apply in Trini- 
dad ; and that, without reference to any higher considerations than those of mere 
economy, the retention of the colonial gang would be injudicious. 

"For these reasons, I consider it expedient to relieve his Majesty's Trinidad 
revenues from the burthen of supporting these slaves ; but, in so doing, I cannot 
on the part of his Majesty consent to their being sold. 

" The gang appears to have been purchased nearly fourteen years ago ; and 
his Majesty could not be advised to refuse to these slaves, if their servile con- 
dition were to continue, that asylum which after so long a service they would 
justly claim from any owner of common humanity, or to hazard their passing 
into the hands of proprietors whose characters and mode of treatment might 
possibly render the change a serious evil to them; they j/zms^, therefore, be 
manumitted, according to my instructions of the 12th of March last ; and for 
that purpose you will execute, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty, the 
necessary act of enfranchisement." 

The principles thus laid down by his Lordship have obviously a 
bearing far beyond the immediate occasion which called them forth. 
They are principles of general application, affecting the whole ques- 
tion of slavery, no less than that of the disposal of the colonial gang 
of Trinidad. We say nothing of those higher considerations of mo- 
rality and religion, of humanity and justice, which it is now uni- 
versally agreed demand that slavery should be abolished. Its pro- 
fitableness is now the only plea urged even by its advocates for 
continuing to uphold it. The argument of Lord Goderich completely 
demolishes this plea, and proves its impolicy, even on mere worldly 
and commercial grounds. In short, he shows slavery to be as foolish 
as it is admitted to be wicked ; and demonstrates that every day 
which prolongs the evil only adds to the loss which cannot fail to 

214 Persecution of Samuel Stviney, a Jamaica Slave. 

result from it. The pecuniary profit which a few individuals may 
derive from it must be viewed by the statesman as standing on a 
similar footing with the gains derived from offences comnaitted against 
the well-being of society, and which, while they demoralize the in- 
dividuals who commit them, are a source of loss, as well as of inse- 
curity, to the public at large. The duty of a government which re- 
cognizes the identity of the two cases seems plain and palpable. It 
is as incumbent on them to rid society of the evil and danger of 
slavery as it is to protect the public peace, and the public interests, 
from the effect of any of the crimes which the laws denounce and 
punish. Only let the principles so ably stated by Lord Goderich be 
brought into their full and legitimate operation, and they would as 
certainly terminate the slavery of every British subject as they have 
already restored freedom to the colonial gang of Trinidad, and to all 
the other slaves of the crown, whether held by forfeiture, escheat, or 
purchase. We cordially congratulate the friends of the slave on the 
uncompromising assertion of such principles, and we only desire that 
their application may have the unlimited extension to which they are 
most justly entitled. 

3. Persecution of Samuel Sioiney, a Jamaica Slave. 

In our third volume. No. 64, p. 301, we gave some account of the 
illegal and cruel punishment of a slave of the name of Samuel Swiney, 
at Savanna la Mar, in Jamaica, whose only offence was the having 
offered up a brief prayer to God. For this offence he was sentenced 
to be flogged, and to work at hard labour in chains for a fortnight. 

A complaint having been made to the Secretary of State of this 
iniquitous transaction, the matter was referred to Lord Belmore for 
investigation. The papers have been laid before Parliament, and are 
contained in No. 450 of the 24th May, 1832. It there appears that 
Lord Goderich, having received Lord Belmore's report dated 1st Dec. 
1830, addressed his Lordship in reply on the 25th April, 1831. 
The facts of the case are thus detailed by Lord Goderich in that 
despatch : — 

" On the evening of Easter Sunday, 1830, a part of Mr. Knibb's congrega- 
tion assembled at his house, for the pupose of holding what is called by persons 
of their persuasion a ' prayer-meeting.' Mr. Knibb was absent on account of 
severe indisposition, and a person of colour presided at the meeting. Accord- 
ing to the mode of worship adopted on such occasions, extempore prayers 
were delivered by members of the congregation. 

" The slave Sam Swiney was amongst those who were engaged in this reli- 
gious exercise. Two persons, named Pessoa and Mitchener, having introduced 
themselves into the room where the meeting was held and witnessed the pro- 
ceedings, gave information, upon which a warrant was' issued for the apprehen- 
sion of six free persons and six slaves. Of the persons who were apprehended 
Sam Swiney alone was tried, and he was tried before Messrs. Finlayson and 
Harden, magistrates, for a violation of the fiftieth clause of the Slave Act of 1816, 
which clause I find to be in the following words : ' And whereas it has been 
found that the practice of ignorant, superstitious, or designing slaves, of attempt- 
ing to instruct others, has been attended with the most pernicious consequences, 
and even with the loss of life; Be it Enacted, That any slave or slaves found 
guilty of preaching and teaching, as Anabaptists or otherwise, without a permis- 

Persecution of Samuel Swiney, a Jamaica Slave. 215 

sion from their owners and the quarter sessions for the parish in which such 
preaching and teaching takes place, shall be punished in such manner as any 
two magistrates may deem proper, by ilagellation or imprisonment in the work- 
house to hard labour.' 

Sam Swiney was convicted, and Mr. Finlayson states, as the ground of the 
conviction, that ' an affidavit was made by Richard Pessoa that on the nights of 
Tuesday and Thursday, the 6th and 8th, and Sunday the 11th of this instant 
month (April), deponent was present and saw nightly meetings and collections 
of sundry persons, slaves and of free condition, engaged in preaching, teaching, 
and singmg psalms and hymns in a house in Great George-street, in the town of 
Savanna la Mar, at present occupied by William Knibb, Baptist Missionary, 
but in his absence, and on many other days and times besides the before-men- 
tioned, when and where they made a great noise, to the annoyance and disturb- 
ance of all the neighbours, keeping it up until nine or ten o'clock each night; 
that Mary Vanhorne took the most active part in the ceremony, officiating as 
minister and giving out the hymn, after which followed the prayer alternately by 
the others, named Sam Swiney and Diana Swiney.' 

" Mr. Finlayson further states that testimony on oath was given by Thomas 
A. Mitchener, Mr. Simeon, and Alexander Gibson, jun., besides Pessoa, but 
he does not mention either the particulars or the substance of their testimony. 
He adds that Sam Swiney was sentenced, as had been stated by Mr. Knibb,' to 
a fortnight's labour in the workhouse, and to receive twenty lashes. Mr. Knibb s 
account of the evidence on the trial is contained in the following extract from 
his published statement : ' Their examination took place on the succeeding 
fhursday, when I was present, but before I detail the proceedings I will men- 
tion the particulars of the deposition made on oath by Pessoa, one of the in- 
formers. It contained the four following charges, the whole of which I am 
prepared to prove were false, as also that the majority of them were proved so 
on oath by three respectable gentlemen; 1st, that the persons were assembled 
for the purpose of preaching and teaching; '2d. that the meeting was continued 
until between the hours of nine and ten o'clock at night; 3d, that such a noise 
was made as disturbed the whole of the neighbourhood ; and, 4th, that a slave, 
named John Wright, was there, who it could have been proved at that time was 
four miles off. 

" ' To answer the second and third of these charges, the head constable who 
lives opposite to my house, Mr. Gibson who resides next door, and Mr. Qualo 
who was with the first-named gentleman on the night mentioned, appeared with- 
out being solicited, and on oath deposed that, so far from these charges being 
true, they could not hear the least noise, and that they were certain that the 
meeting was over before eiglit o'clock in the evening. 

" ' The owner of the slave who subsequently suffered, Mr. Aaron De Leon, 
attended the investigation, and informed the presiding magistrates, the Hon. 
D. Finlayson and T. W. Harden, Esq., that he had given the Negro Sam free 
permission to attend the meeting : when the custos asked if the permission was 
given in writing, and, on the owner answering that he was not aware that it was - 
necessary, he was informed that the omission rendered his leave of no avail.' 

" Mr. Knibb proceeds to say that he attempted to convince Mr. Finlayson 
that there was a manifest difference between praying and preaching, or teaching, 
but that his attempt was unsuccessful; that the slave was convicted, and that he 
himself attended the infliction of the sentence, and saw the slave receive twenty 
lashes of a cart-whip, immediately after which he was chained to a convict, and 
sent to work on the road. 

" As your Lordship cannot but have perceived that the statements which I 
have thus recapitulated furnish a very imperfect account of die transaction which 
you were requested to investigate, and as Mr. Knibb, in his letter of the 12th of 
October, writes that when his health should be re-established he would be happy 
to give any further information whicli your Lordsiiip might require, I have hoped 

216 Persecution of Samuel Swine y, (l Jamaica Slave. 

to receive from your Lordship a further communication, and in that expectation 
I have hitherto^eferred to acknowledge your despatch of 1st December ; but, as 
I have not heard from you again upon the subject, I am induced to suppose that 
Mr. Knibb continues incapacitated by ill health, and that your Lordship has not 
resorted to any other source from which the necessary information might be ob- 
tained. It is obvious, however, that the case cannot be allowed to rest here. 
When proceedings thus offensive to the principles of toleration and the feelings of 
humanity are brought to the knowledge of his Majesty's Government, and are 
justified on the part of those directing them by no allegation of reasonable 
grounds, but simply by an appeal to the clause of the Act under which they 
took place, it is at least necessary that their strict legality should be made appa- 
rent. But your Lordship will not have failed to observe that the statements 
which you have transmitted leave the legality of the proceedings open to very 
serious doubts. 

" The evidence for the prosecution is stated to have been clearly contradicted, 
in more than one particular, by persons residing in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the house where the meeting was held, one of whom was the head 
constable. Pessoa, although he stated that the persons present at the meeting 
were engaged in preaching and teaching, appears, when he came to describe 
what took place, to have deposed to nothing on the part of the slave who was 
convicted, or indeed of any others in particular, except singing hymns and utter- 
ing prayers. 

" It is difficult to conceive how either of these acts of devotion could be pro- 
perly designated as preaching or teaching; Moreover, the clause of the Slave 
Act to which Mr. Finlayson refers, although it authorizes punishment ' by flagel- 
lation or imprisonment in the workhouse to hard labour/ does not authorize the 
infliction of both these modes of punishment. The slave had the full permission 
of his owner to attend the meeting. Although I nowhere find that such per- 
mission must be in writing, as Mr. Finlayson is stated to have averred, in order 
to be available, yet I perceive, in law, that it would not be of any avail under 
the fiftieth clause of the Slave Act, unless accompanied by a permission from 
the quarter sessions of the parish. I do not. mention this therefore as an addi- 
tional objection to the sentence in point of law ; but it is nevertheless a strong 
presumption of the harmless nature of the proceedings on account of which the 
sentence was pronounced. According to Mr. Finlayson, the deposition of Pessoa 
referred to sundry meetings which he has witnessed. Mr. Knibb speaks only of 
a meeting on Easter Sunday, from which I presume that the evidence, as re- 
garded Sam Swiney, only applied to the single occasion. 

" It is obviously necessary, however, that this point should be distinctly set 
forth, in order to communicate a complete and satisfactory understanding of the 
questions at issue. 

" I repeat, therefore, that it is necessary to have much fuller information re- 
specting this case, and that at least the lawfulness of the course adopted by 
Messrs. Finlayson and Harden must be shown before his Majesty's Government 
can lay aside the enquiry." 

The additional information required by Viscount Goderich having 
been obtained and transmitted to England, his Lordship, on the 
15th Nov. 1831, further addressed the Earl of Belmore to the fol- 
lowing effect : — 

'' I have received your Lordship's despatch of the 23d August last, enclosing 
to me the further documents which, in compliance with my instructions, your 
Lordship had obtained in elucidation of the case of the slave Samuel Swiney, a 
member of a congi-egation of Baptists whom Mr. Knibb, the Baptist missionary, 
had stated to have been sentenced by two magistrates, Messrs. Finlayson and 

Persecution of Samuel Swiney, a Jamaica Slave. 217 

Harden, to be flogged and confined to hard labour, in chains, for uttering a 
prayer at a meeting of the congregation. 

" I have already, in my despatch of the 25th of April, recapitulated the cir- 
cumstances of this case as I collected them from the documents which your 
Lordship had transmitted in your despatch of the 1st of December, 1830, and 
as the account so collected is borne out in every material particular by the evi- 
dence on the trial of the slave, which I have now received, I need do little more 
than refer your Lordship to the view which I took in my former despatch of the 
proceedings of Messrs. Finlayson and Harden to explain the grounds of the in- 
struction which it is the purpose of my present communication to convey. 

" Laying wholly aside the unsworn statement of Mr. Knibb, upon which my 
former views were partly founded, your Lordship will perceive that the facts 
sworn to are essentially the same as I assumed them to be on the faith of that 
statement, when it was uncontradicted by the parties whom it inculpated. 

" Richard Pessoa swore an affidavit on the 17th of April ; and though he was 
examined viva voce at the trial, five days afterwards, that affidavit appears to have 
been received as evidence. Passing over this irregularity, observe what his 
affidavit was. 

" He states himself to have been present, and to have seen nightly meetings of 
slaves and free people, engaged ' in preaching, teaching, and singing psalms and 
hymns,' on the nights of the 6th and 8th of April, at the house of Knibb ; but in 
his ' absence, and on many other days and times besides the before-mentioned, 
when and where they made a great noise, to the annoyance and disturbance of 
all the neighbours, keeping it up until nine or ten o'clock each night ; and depo- 
nent saith that the names of the persons of free condition are, &c. (mentioning 
six names), and those of slaves Sam Swiney,' &c. (mentioning five others). He 
adds that ' Mary Vanhorne took the most active part in the ceremony, offi- 
ciating as minister, and giving out the hymns ; after which followed a prayer 
alternately by the slaves Sam Swiney and Diana Swiney, contrary to the Act of 
this island.' 

" The same person, being examined on Swiney 's trial, said that incoherent 
expressions, such as the following, were made use of by Sam Swiney, * O Lord ! 
Lord God ! Jesus, my Saviour ! O God ! ' &c. &c., without any connection, which 
examinant thought was a mocking of religion. The meetings were scarcely 
over before nine o'clock, the bell having generally done ringing before they 
were up.' 

" The magistrates have stated in their report that Mr. Thomas Mitchener was 
sworn. The account of his evidence is given in these words: ' Corresponds 
with the above, being in company with Pessoa.' Of Mr. William Simeon and 
Mr. Alexander Gibson, two other witnesses, it is merely said, ' Sworn to the 
same effect.' 

" Such was the evidence for the prosecution. Strangely as it is quoted, this 
much is evident : first, no specific day was mentioned on which Swiney was 
present. Secondly, Pessoa on the 17th of April declared that on each night 
the annoyance had been kept up until nine or ten o'clock; five days afterwards 
he swore that the meetings were scarcely over before nine. Thirdly, in his 
first affidavit he did not attribute to Swiney any expressions, nor even any direct 
participation in the alleged preaching or teaching ; in his deposition he merely 
ascribed to him certain unconnected ejaculations. Fourthly, though he states 
himself to have been present, he does not say, nor is it probable, that he was 
within the house. 

" The evidence for the defence was as follows : ' The head constable, who 
lived opposite the house, did not hear any riot or noise on the nights alluded to ; 
they were over before the bell rung at night.' Qualo, a shopkeeper, is said to 
have deposed to the same effect. Gibson, a blacksmith, ' lives next door to 
Mr. Knibb ; heard no noise, and believes the meetings were generally over be- 
fore eight o'clock, or before the bell rung.' 

218 Female Flogghuj in Jamaica. 

" No impartial man, reading this evidence, could avoid tlie conclusion that 
there vv-as no proof that in the terms of the Jamaica Statute Swiney had been 
* preaching and teaching without a permission from his owner and the quarter 
sessions.' The want of permission, which is of the essence of the crime, is not 
noticed in the evidence. Of preaching or teaching there is absolutely no proof, 
unless certain ejaculations can be regarded as falling within the meaning of those 

" Had the crime been proved, Swiney might have been whipped, or he might 
have been imprisoned with hard labour ; the magistrates condemned him to both. 

" The Attorney-general of Jamaica is clear in the opinion that the conviction 
was illegal, and the punishments unauthorized. 

" Such being the circumstances presented for my consideration, T have felt that 
no choice was left me as to the course which I should pursue. It is impossible 
that any man can be more sensible than I am to the irksome and painful nature 
of the duty, which has been more than once imposed upon me, of visiting with 
censure and disgrace persons whom it would be my first wish to maintain in the 
enjoyment of that respect, and in the exercise of that authority, to which their 
station in society would naturally entitle them. But the principles of justice and 
toleration, and the interests of humanity, must not be compromised, and there is 
no method of correcting such gross abuses of power as those which the present 
case discloses, except by the removal of the magistrates who have been guilty of 
them. I am therefore to convey to your Lordship the King's commands to erase 
the names of Messrs. Finlayson and Harden from the commission of the peace. 

" I have further to instruct your Lordship to call upon the Attorney-general 
to report, whether in his opinion there are grounds to sustain a prosecution 
against Richard Pessoa for perjury, and, if so, you will direct him forthwith to 
institute one." 

Our readers will perceive that the case of this poor slave, as ori- 
ginally stated by us, is thus fully substantiated by the authority of 
Lord Goderich, after a long and patient investigation of the whole 
of the evidence transmitted from Jamaica on both sides of the ques- 
tion ; and it will remain a farther memorial of the persecuting spirit 
which has actuated too many of the magistracy of Jamaica, and 
whith has produced such deplorable effects in this and in a variety of 
other instances. We need not dilate upon it ; independently of the 
able and gratifying comment of the Secretary of State, it speaks for 
itself; and we, therefore, shall content ourselves, in addition to our 
former observations, with placing the facts on record for future use. 

4. Female flogging in Jamaica. 

The same parliamentary paper. No. 480, of 1832, contains the 
following official extract from the minutes of the House of Assembly 
of Jamaica, dated 22d of November, 1831 : — 

" A motion being made that a Committee be appointed to enquire and report 
on the expediency of abolishing the flogging of female slaves ; and another mo- 
tion being made, and the question being put, whether the matter proposed shall 
be debated : 

" The house divided : the noes went forth. 

" Ayes 3. — Mr. Salmon, Mr. Beaumont, and Mr. Watkins. 

" Noes 25. — Mr. Mitchel, Mr. Barclay, Mr. Frater, Mr. Townshend, Mr. 
Hamilton, Mr. Leslie, Mr. Quarrell, Mr. Jones, Mr. Brown, Mr. Walker, Mr. 
Lynch, Mr. Lowndes, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Marshall, Mr. King, 
Mr. Brydon, Mr. Bernard, Mr. Berry, Mr. Yates, Mr. Turner, Mr. Guy, Mr. 
Stamp, Mr. Bayley, and Mr. Finlayson. 

" It passed in the negative." 

Female Flogging, 8fc., in Bahamas, 219 

5. Female flogging, Sfc, in Bahamas. 
In a communication from Sir James Carmichael Smyth, Bart., the 
governor of the Bahamas, contained in the parliamentary papers of 
16th March, 1832, No. 285, that officer assures the Secretary of 
State that, " though the slaves are looking forward very anxiously to 
a considerable amelioration of their condition, he is not apprehensive 
of the slightest tumult or insurrection." The slaves, he says, " ap- 
pear to me, as also the coloured population, to have the fullest con- 
fidence in his Majesty's Government. The low ignorant white people 
are in a much greater state of ferment, and much more likely to be 
troublesome, if they had sufficient means or numbers." He com- 
plains, however, of the conduct of the magistracy, and intimates that 
if they should persist in not duly investigating the cases of ill treat- 
ment that come before them, though he has not the slightest idea of 
any insurrection or premeditated resistance on the part of the slaves 
to their owners, " yet it is impossible to say what the feelings of the 
slaves luight induce them to attempt, if it were not for the confidence 
they have in his Majesty's Government, and their hope of the power 
of the master being subjected to some legal control, and that at no 
distant period." p. 52. 

A monitory letter of the governor, addressed to Mr. Duncome, the 
police magistrate of New Providence, accompanies the despatch, and 
throws some light on these remarks, and on the general state of 
society in this Slave Colony. 

" In a country like this," he says, " where the cat-o'-nine tails is at 
the command of men and women indiscriminately, and even of minors 
of either sex, and can be employed on male and female slaves in- 
discriminately, without any other ceremony than the will of the 
owner or person acting for the owner ; and where there is no slave 
protector; the utmost vigilance, activity, and intelligence, are required 
on the part of the police magistrate, to prevent, as much as he can, 
the abuse of this dreadful power." p. 53. 

He expresses his indignation most strongly at one instance of this 
abuse, which had just occurred, in the case of a slave named Ben 
Moss. This man had actually purchased his freedom, but the deed 
of manumission for effecting it was not yet legally completed. But, 
though nothing " could prevent Ben from being a free man the next 
day, the attorney of the owner availed himself of almost literally the 
last hour of his expiring authority, to inflict thirty-nine lashes on this 
poor, worn-out old man ;" and, though efforts were made to save him 
" from the pain and ignominy of this cruel flogging," yet those efforts 
were used in vain. 

Another case is stated by the governor, of an unfortunate female 
slave, of the name of Phoebe, who underwent two severe floggings, by 
order of her master, Mr. Wildgoos, in the common jail, and the se- 
cond of which the police magistrate, " though apprized of, yet took no 
steps to interfere with, or to prevent, although she had not been 
out of confinement since the infliction of her first flogging, and con- 
sequently could not have done any thing to have deserved a second 
punishment of so severe and terrible a nature." 

220 Slave Insurrection. — Report of the Bishop of Jamaica. 

Several other cases of the same description are adverted to by the 
governor, and he adds, that there are very many similar to these 
which ought to have been, but were not, investigated by the police 
magistrate of his own accord ; and that there is nothing the governor 
has more at heart than the abolishing of the flogging of female slaves 
in toto, and the diminishing of punishment generally ; and that, in 
doing so, he has a right to co-operation and assistance from all ma- 

6. Slave Insurrection. 

The communications of the governors of Barbadoes, Dominica, 
Grenada, St. Christopher's, St. Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, and 
St. Lucia, concur in giving the most favourable views of the orderly 
and quiet demeanour of the slave population. See Parliamentary 
Papers, No. 225, of 1832. 

In the case of Demerara, their state, according to the opinion of 
Sir B. D'Urban, would have been equally tranquil, but for *' the 
discussions which, unhappily for the colony, have been lately carried 
on, by a certain portion of the inhabitants, with so little reserve or 
apparent care for their probable consequences ; and which cannot be 
regarded without just cause of alarm as to the effects they directly 
tend to produce in the minds of the Negro population ; as those dis- 
cussions bear, on the very face of them, a determination to impede 
and weaken the provisions of protection to the slave, which his Ma- 
jesty in council has thought fit to enact." Ibid, 

7. Report of the Bishop of Jamaica. 

A report from the Bishop of Jamaica, dated Aug. 1831 (No. 481), 
on the progress of religion in his diocese, has been printed by an 
order of the House of Commons of 24th May, 1830. 

For his former reports we refer the reader to our preceding volumes; 
vol. 1, No. 13 ; vol. 2, No. 41 ; vol. 3, No. 5Q ; and vol. 4, No. 90. 
A few remarks will also be found in vol. 4, p. 122 and 485, which 
may serve to throw some light on the real progress which religion 
has made under his superintendance. The present report, like those 
which have preceded it, is of too vague a description to add m.uch to 
our former information. The Bishop admits that " from the almost 
total absence of proprietors, and many other circumstances, he has 
met with many obstacles to the establishment of schools in the in- 
terior parts of the island ;" and that, " from their vast extent and scat- 
tered population, the parishes are at present very inadequately sup- 
plied with the means of instruction." He nevertheless bears his tes- 
timony, and his clergy concur in it, " to the intense and earnest desire, 
on the part of the slaves, for religious instruction." 

To what then are we to attribute the difficulties of which the Bishop 
of Jamaica complains, but to the indisposition of the legislature, and 
of the proprietors or their agents, to afford to their slaves the time 
and the means required for the purpose of Christian instruction ? 
The Sunday is still desecrated to secular objects, to marketing and 
the cultivation of their grounds. But on this paramount obstacle, 
this infallible proof of the prevalent indisposition to instruct their 

Report of the bishojj of Jamaica 221 

slaves, namely, the want of a Sabbath, the Bishop still maintains a 
guarded silence. Though called upon to give a full and detailed 
account of the progress of religious improvement, he utters not one 
"word respecting this main hindrance to all his efforts and those of 
his clergy ; nor does he once suggest the expediency of its removal 
by any legislative provision. Why this reserve on so very vital a 
subject? We trust that Lord Goderich will require from him, and 
from his clergy, a more distinct exposition of this and the other 
obstacles which interfere with their success, and frustrate " the in- 
tense and earnest desire of the slaves for Christian instruction." 

In the report transmitted by the Bishop soon after his arrival (Re- 
porter, vol. 2, p. 322), it appeared that there was then, for a popu- 
lation of about 370,000 souls, church and chapel room to accommo- 
date about 1.5,000 persons. Since that time fifteen additional chapels 
have been erected, which may be computed to contain 6000. The 
supply, therefore, it will be seen, is still extremely inadequate; and 
were it not for the dissenting chapels (most of which, however, have 
been recently destroyed by the white mob) the opportunities of reli- 
gious worship could be accessible to only a fragment of the slave 
population, even had they a Sunday on which to attend it. 

The details which accompany the Bishop's despatch are as vague 
and defective as ever, except in the case of Mr. Wildman's estates, 
where reading is taught by catechists of the Church Missionary So- 
ciety, and to whose success the Bishop bears his testimony. The 
number of slaves taught to read under the Bishop elsewhere appears 
to be extremely small, and these chiefly in towns. In general the 
instruction given seems to be still merely oral. The good effects of a 
more liberal and enlightened system of instruction are warmly eulo- 
gized by the Bishop in the case of Mr. Wildman. " I had the highest 
satisfaction," he says, " in visiting Mr. Wildman's estate of Salt Sa- 
vannah, in April last. The system adopted here is highly creditable 
both to the proprietor and the teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Sterne. The 
progress of the slaves in reading, and every useful branch of sound ' 
religious education, is no less striking than their quiet and civilized 
manners, evidently the result of a kind, humane, and enlightened 
method of instruction. The system of infant schools has been intro- 
duced with so much success that I am anxious to adopt it in all the 
towns without delay. Every facility is afforded to the slaves in the 
acquisition of useful knowledge, and they are exempt from night 
labour, and all severe exertions of any kind." What a tacit reproach 
is this example of Mr. Wildman to the proprietary at large ! 

The Bishop has appointed a minister and a catechist to the Grand 
Cuymanas, an island 300 miles west of Jamaica, the population of 
which is 1500, including slaves, among whom no minister of any de- 
nomination has ever resided. They have shown their anxiety for in- 
struction by building two places of worship, and a house for the minis- 
ter, and agreeing to contribute to his support. 

Schools have been formed in the Bahamas and at Honduras, where 
great eagerness for instruction has been manifested. The Bishop 
speaks highly of a free black, of the name of Joseph Watkins. He 

2 G 

Q^'S' Free Black and Coloured Classes. 

had mentioned him in a former report (vol. 2, p. 134) as a very ir- 
regular person, not in holy orders, and yet ministering publicly and 
with great effect in Bahama, being, in fact, the only person who 
seemed to have kept alive any sense of religion in that island. The 
present report states that he is master of an excellent school for slaves, 
and that he ministers to very crowded congregations twice in the 
week, *' I attended," he says, " on one of these occasions, and have 
much satisfaction in bearing testimony to the character of Joseph 
Watkins, and to the good he effects." We congratulate the Bishop 
on having surmounted his prejudices, so far as to attend the ministra- 
tions of this irregular prop of the church in Bahamas. Why does he 
not ordain this black, and give him authority to labour? 

8. Free Black and Coloured Classes. 

These classes, it is well known, have been relieved from all their 
former degrading disabilities, both civil and political, in the different 
Crown Colonies of Trinidad, Guiana, St. Lucia, Mauritius, and the 
Cape of Good Hope ; and they now stand precisely on the same foot- 
ing as to rights with the white inhabitants. 

A return has recently been made to the House of Commons, and 
printed by its order. No. 363, dated 6th April, 1832, of the laws 
passed by colonial legislatures on this subject. 

A return of the same kind had previously been made from Jamaica, 
which we are happy to say has distinguished itself by being the first 
to carry into full operation the example of liberality which had been 
given by the Government in the Crown Colonies. Its Act for that 
purpose, passed on the 21st of December, 1830, is a model of effec- 
tive legislation, which all the Colonies would do well to imitate. The 
following are its comprehensive terms : — 

Whereas former Acts *' do not sufficiently remove the disabilities 
to which the free brown and black population of this island are sub- 
jected : and whereas it is expedient to grant additional privileges to 
such persons :" it is hereby enacted, " that the before-mentioned 
Acts, and each of them, and every matter, clause, or thing in them 
and each of them contained, are hereby repealed and made null and 
void, to all intents and purposes, any thing in the said Acts or either 
of them to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. And be it 
further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that, from and after the 
passing of this Act, all the free brown and black population of this 
island shall be entitled to have and enjoy all the rights, privileges, 
immunities, and advantages whatsoever, to which they would have 
been entitled if born of, and descended from, white ancestors." 

Barbadoes, Dominica, and Tobago, have pursued the same satis- 
factory course with Jamaica, and have made the free black and 
coloured admissible even to their legislative assemblies. We fear, 
however, that in Barbadoes and Tobago a higher pecuniary qualifica- 
tion is required of the newly enfranchised than of the whites. But 
this point is not clear. These Acts are all dated in 1831. 

The legislature of Antigua, which includes Montserrat and Bar- 
buda, limits the title to enjoy all the privileges of whites to those 

Free Black and Coloured Classes. 92:^ 

who have been in a state of undisputed freedom for seven years ; aind 
the right of sitting on juries to those who, besides this, shall possess 
a freehold of 80^. per annum ; or are merchants, occupying a house 
of the value of 60Z. per annum; or who own or rent an estate 
with thirty slaves or more, or manage a sugar plantation. No free 
black or coloured inhabitants, however, shall be entitled to parochial 
relief; and the provisions of the Acts for encouraging the importation 
of white servants, and which exclude black and coloured persons 
from managing the plantations of whites, are to remain in force. 
These are harsh and invidious distinctions, p. 3. 

The legislature of the Bahamas is still less liberal than that of 
Antigua. In the Act of January 1830, free black and coloured 
persons possessing 200^. above what will satisfy their debts, or having 
50 acres of land free from incumbrances, and in active cultivation, 
are admitted to vote for members of the assembly; but not for 
vestrymen, p. 11. 

In Gre/mc^a, by an Act of November, 1828, " all free-born" (not 
free, but iree-horn), " coloured" (not black), " British subjects within 
this island, being freeholders, merchants, traders, managers, or chief 
overseers, or lessees of estates, may serve as petty jurors." Such a 
miserable extension of privilege to so highly respectable a body as the 
free classes of Grenada is an insult rather than a boon, p. 16. 

In St. Christopher's, by an Act of December, 1830, " all free 
coloured and black native inhabitants of this island, being the issue of 
free subjects, are admitted to the enjoyment of all civil rights, as 
fully as other inhabitants, with the exception of seats in the House 
of Assembly as members thereof." It is further provided that indi- 
viduals of the free coloured and black classes may have all civil 
rights conferred on them by private bills, if qualified by their circum- 
stances and attainments ; fourteen such persons are named in this 
Act, to whom, by name, such rights are at once extended, p. 20. 

In the Virgin Islands, by an Act of August 1831, all free British, 
coloured or black persons, natives of the island, and domiciled therein 
for five years, or who may hereafter be manumitled, shall, after seven 
years from the date of such manumission, be entitled to all the rights 
of the white inhabitants. None, however, who cannot read, write, 
and cast accounts, shall have the privilege of sitting on juries, or in 
either house of legislature; nor shall this Act extend to any runaway 
slave who may be made free, nor to any free coloured or black per^ 
son who shall make these islands a domicile for evading the laws of 
any other country whatsoever, p. 21. 

In St. Vincent, an Act of December, 1830, removes all dis- 
abilities whatsoever from free persons of colour (not blacks) who are 
natives of this island and its dependencies, but is not to extend to 
any Charaibs, or their descendants, remaining in this island, p. 23. 

All these uncalled-for restrictions of the legislatures of Antigua, 
Bahamas, St. Christopher, the Virgin Islands, and St. Vincent, are 
very discreditable to them, and show that they fall far behind, in 
liberality and sound policy, the law-givers of Jamaica, Barbadoes 
Dominica, and Tobago. Nothing is said of Nevis and Bermuda. 

224 Protection given to slaves by law, SfC. 

9. The protection given to Slaves in Jamaica by Law, Magistrates,. 
Grand Juries, and Councils of Protection, illustrated. 

The following letter from Viscount Goderich to Lord Belmorey 
dated Nov. 1, 1831, has not yet been laid before Parliament. We,, 
nevertheless, venture to give it publicity, as it has already appeared 
in many newspapers both in Jamaica and in this country, and as it will 
serve seasonably to illustrate the imperative necessity of adopting early 
and effectual means to put a final period to the guilt and misery of 
such a system. We trust that all the details of this atrocious case, 
and which seem to Lord Goderich too horrid to bear recital, will yet 
be given to the public. It is only by such details that the laws and 
manners of slave colonies can be adequately understood. 

" My Lord, — I have received your Lordship's despatch, dated the 
31st of August last, No. 84, transmitting various documents connected 
with the case of Mr. Jackson, the custos of Port-Royal, in Jamaica. 

" I am happily relieved from the necessity of entering into all the dis- 
gusting details of the cases brought under my notice in your Lordship's 
despatch. In Dr. Palmer's letter of June 13 that task is very fully 
performed : I will advert only to some of the more remarkable cir- 

" It appears, then, that a complaint was preferred to Dr. Palmer, as 
a magistrate, of extraordinary cruelties committed by Mr. Jackson, 
the custos, or senior magistrate, of the parish of Port-Royal, and by 
his wife, on the persons of two female slaves. Dr. Palmer immediately 
endeavoured to effect the arrest of the two females, with a view to their 
protection, pending the necessary enquiry; and wrote to Mr. Jackson 
to apprize him of the measures which it was intended to take. On 
receiving that letter, Mr. Jackson seems to have applied to his brother, 
Mr. Campbell Jackson, who was also in the commission of the peace, 
to undertake the investigation of the complaint. Mr. C. Jackson ac- 
cordingly summoned the two slaves before him. He has assigned as 
a reason for this proceeding that Dr. Palmer had omitted to take 
down in writing the examination of the witnesses. One of the com- 
plainants is stated to have refused to state her case to Mr. C. Jack- 
son, because he was the brother of the accused ; and it is added that 
Mr. C. Jackson compelled her to enter into such a statement only by 
threats of punishment. Upon hearing her narrative, he determined 
that a council of protection should be immediately summoned, and 
with that view addressed to the clerk of the peace a letter, directing 
him to summon such a council, which, it was observed, ought to meet 
' on any day that may be most agreeable to Mr. Jackson.' ' I have 
further,' observes Mr. C, Jackson,' to remark that the charges preferred 
by the above-named slaves are vexatious and frivolous.' 

" This letter was written on the 6th of June. On the following day 
the council of protection was accordingly summoned by a third justice, 
Mr. Hyslop, and Dr. Palmer was required to attend it on the 11th of 
the same month. Dr. Palmer, having brought the case under your 
Lordship's notice, answered this summons by a letter, dated the 8th of 
Jiine, in which he requested that the meeting might delayed until 

Protection given to slaves by law, SfC. 225 

the governor's opinion should be known. He at the same time pointed 
out the extraordinary conduct of the Messrs. Jackson in thus trans- 
ferring the case from the cognizance of himself to that of a junior ma- 
gistrate, who was the brother of the accused party ; and he noticed as 
•a reason for awaiting your Lordship's intentions that every member of 
the council of protection virtually owed his appointment to the magis- 
tracy to the recommendation of the custos, whose conduct they were 
required to investigate. The council, however, met on the 11th of 
June, when Dr. Palmer moved that the proceedings should be ad- 
journed until your Lordship's answer had been received. This motibw 
was overruled by the unanimous voice of the whole body, who then 
proceeded to investigate the complaints which Mr. C. Jackson had al- 
ready declared 'frivolous and vexatious.' Declining, for the reasons 
already assigned, to enter at large into the details of this evidence, it 
is unfortunately necessary that I should recapitulate some of the facts 
which were substantiated. 

" It appears, then, that the elder of these slaves was the mother of 
the younger, and that they had both passed their lives in domestic 
service, and without having been employed in field labour. A dialogue 
seems to have taken place between Mrs. Jackson and one of her 
children and these women, in which it may be inferred that the slaves 
exhibited some violence of demeanour, attended with language unbe- 
coming the relation in which they stood to Mrs. Jackson. It is not 
without a painful sense of the degrading light in which the narrative* 
exhibits a lady in Mrs. Jackson's rank of life that I proceed with it. 
She^with her own hands took a ' supplejack ' and flogged the younger 
slave with it till the instrument broke. The flogging was then renewed 
with a whip. On this the mother broke out in violent remonstrances,^ 
when Mrs. Jackson (in terms which I will not venture to transcribe or 
to characterize) threatened to punish her. In her renewed remon- 
strance the mother stated that her mistress ' had flogged her before 
Christmas, had laid her down and flogged her by the driver,' The? 
daughter is said to have then been placed in the corner of the room 
to stand up the whole day. The mother was placed in the stocks, and' 
kept there ' two or three weeks, night and day.' At the end of that 
time she was carried to the other stocks, in a place called the hot- 
house, where she was kept ' for about two or three weeks,' the 
daughter being placed in those stocks from which her mother had beerc 
removed. For no less than four months these unfortunate women, 
though bred as domestics, were employed in the field, and, when not 
in the field, were confined in the stocks ; and both the labour and the- 
confinement were so arranged that, during the whole period of the 
punishment, they should have no opportunity of speaking to each 
other. This protracted confinement in the stocks appears to have 
been peculiarly strict, and even the Sundays were passed in this 
dreadful situation. Incredible as it might appear, the mother, even 
while labouring under fever and ague, was still kept in the stocks. 
She had lived for twenty-two years in the service of the family by whom 
she was thus treated. 

" The younger female, in her evidence, describes herself eis having 

226 Protection given to slaves 6y law, ^c, 

Iseen beaten with a strap by the hands of Mr. Jackson himself; as^ 
having then been flogged by Mr. Jackson's orders with a new cat; as 
having been confined in stocks so narrow as to wound her feet ; as 
having been kept there at night for more than six weeks or two months. 
During her labours in the field, she states her arms, neck, and back, 
were blistered ; that, on complaint being made of this to Mr. Jackson, 
he answered merely by a brutal oath, and that he proceeded to send 
for scissars, with a view to cut off her hair, to compel her to remove 
from her head, and place round her neck, a handkerchief, which was 
the only defence from the sun. 

" It was admitted that the release of these women from the stocks 
did not take place until the very day on which Dr. Palmer's letter was 
received by Mr. Jackson. This is stated to have been on the 4th of 
June, and Mr. Jackson is represented in the minutes of council to have 
admitted that the confinement commenced in the middle of January. 
It must, therefore, have lasted very nearly six complete months ! 

*' Respecting the alleged tightness of the stocks, the witnesses for the 
defence contradicted the statements of the younger slave. Much was 
stated of the insolence of these women, and of the gross impropriety 
of their language, and much respecting the habitual humanity of the 
accused parties ; but to the specific imputations of cruelty no defence 
was made or attempted. 

" The council of protection decided that there were not sufl&cient 
grounds for a prosecution; that neither the letter nor the spirit of the 
law had been infringed ; that in cases of confinement the duration of 
the punishment was not limited by law, the owner being bound only 
to show that proper support had been given. They however felt bound 
to declare that, ' notwithstanding the aggravated insults so repeatedly 
offered by the complainants, it would have been desirable that a less 
protracted punishment had been resorted to by the parties accused, 
or that they, on finding that confinement had not the effect intended, 
had brought the slaves to trial before a competent tribunal.' 

" The preceding recital scarcely admits of any "commentary in that 
measured tone which it is on every account so desirable to observe 
in an official communication of this nature, A series of the most re- 
volting outrages on humanity were admitted without reserve, or tacitly 
acknowledged. A perseverance for several months together in cruel- 
ties of the most scandalous character, on the persons of a young 
woman, and of her mother, were unhesitatingly avowed. One of the 
offenders was the chief magistrate of theldistrict : the other was that 
magistrate's wife. A case more urgently demanding the most rigorous 
enforcement of the law, or appealing more strorigly to the compassion 
and indignation of all who heard it, could scarcely be imagined. Yet 
what was the result? One magistrate, the brother of the criminal, de- 
clared the complaint ' frivolous and vexatious.' Four other magis- 
trates, members of the council of protection, dismissed it with a sen- 
tence full of harsh expressions respecting the conduct of the injured 
party, and with language towards the offenders conveying nothing 
more than the most gentle and even respectful dissent from the 
soundness of the judgment exercised by them on the occasion. 

Preteciion given to slaves by law, 3s'e. 227 

" The crimination of these unfortunate women, for the use of insolent 
^nd indecorous language, scarcely merits serious notice. Here was a 
mother compelled to witness the scourging of her daughter with in- 
struments of punishment at once painful and degrading. The mother 
was then herself subjected to a chastisement attended with every cir- 
cumstance of suffering and indecency, and was addressed by a lady 
in Mrs. Jackson's rank of life in terms too gross for repetition. Cul- 
pable as the words extorted by such shameful conduct may have been, 
the apology was such as should have silenced the reproaches of the 
owners. With such a domestic example, what decorum could be ex- 
pected from an ignorant negress ? With such a provocation, what 
self-government could reasonably be anticipated from a mother ? No 
condition of life ought to have repressed those emotions with which a 
parent must witness the infliction, on her offspring, of such great and 
unmerited suffering. 

" When your Lordship, after the decision of the council of protection , 
ordered the attorney-general to prefer a bill of indictment, the result 
was, that the grand jury ignored the bill ! The ground of their pro- 
ceedings can, of course, be known only to themselves ; and the at- 
torney-general suggests that the inadmissibility of the evidence of the 
slaves was fatal to the bill ; for he observes that the only witnesses 
bofore the grand Jury were Dr. Palmer, and the inmates of Mr. Jack- 
son's family, who, the attorney-general presumes, would depose only 
in favour of Mr. Jackson, unless interrogated as to particular facts, of 
which the grand jury, not having before them the minutes of the 
council of protection, were ignorant. 

" I fear that this apology can scarcely be accepted as satisfactory. 
Dr. Palmer was present at the council of protection, and was also 
examined before the grand jury. He must have heard the admissions 
which, from the minutes of that council, appear to have been made 
by Mr. Jackson himself. Dr. Palmer, therefore, was able, as assuredly 
he was willing, to prove the confinement, for several months together, 
of the mother and daughter in the stocks. It is incredible that he, 
the accuser, should have left the grand jury ignorant of the main 
ground on which his own charges rested ; and, if they were not in that 
state of ignorance, the attorney-general's excuse for their rejection of 
the bill of indictment fails altogether. I must also express my entire 
disbelief of the fact that a grand jury could have been brought to- 
gether, from the contracted society of Jamaica, who wei'C really una- 
ware of so very remarkable an occurrence as that of the proceedings 
in their own vicinity against the custos of the parish of Port Royal, 
for cruelty to two female slaves. The story must have been notorious 
throughout every part of the island ; and every gentleman in the 
grand jury room must have known that a protracted confinement in 
the stocks was the real fact to which the examination of the witnesses 
should have been addressed. 

" The gentlemen of the grand jury delivered their verdict under the 
sacred obligation of an oath. I am bound, therefore, to presume that 
it was an honest verdict. I do not venture to assert or to suggest to 
the contrary. I can only state that the grounds of their decision are 
to me at least quite incomprehensible. 

228 Protection given to slaves by law, 8^c, 

" This occurrence is no less unfortunately timed than it is melan- 
choly. At the very moment when the West India body are com- 
plaining, not perhaps without some justice, of the indiscriminate and 
violent reproaches with which they have been assailed, is brought to 
light this extraordinary circumstance, that one magistrate perpetrated, 
and Jive others concurred to screen from punishment, offences agahist 
two helplessfemalesof the most revolting a7id unmanly character. With 
the utmost anxiety to protect the Colony and its inhabitants from all 
calumnious imputations, what power of performing that duty with 
effect is left to myself and others, when the magistracy and official 
guardians of slaves betray so flagrant a disregard of their domestic 
and public duties 1 With what reason, or plausibility, can it be al- 
leged that the slaves at Jamaica have no need of additional protec- 
tion, when, in a ease so outrageous as the present, the council of 
protection would neither jjrosecute nor even censure the criminal, 
and the Grand Jury woxild not entertain the indictment ? 

" Your Lordship's suspension of Mr, Jackson, the custos, is per- 
fectly right, or rather was a measure which it would have been cul- 
pable to omit. His Majesty is pleased to confirm your decision, and 
to direct that Mr. Jackson be never again entrusted with the authority 
of a magistrate. 

" As the removal of Mr. Jackson from his office of Judge of Assize 
cannot be effected, except by the advice of the Council, your Lord- 
ship will convey to that body the opinion of his Majesty's Government 
that it is a measure inevitably necessary. 

" I am under the painful necessity of further directing the removal 
from the commission of the peace of Mr. Campbell Jackson, That 
gentleman's interference was, under all the circumstances of the 
case, most indecorous. His decision that a complaint of several 
months' imprisonment of two women in the stocks was ' frivolous 
and vexatious,' though the fact neither was nor could be disputed, is 
an evidence of such extraordinary apathy that I cannot be satisfied 
to entrust their interests any longer to his care. 

" The failure of the bill of indictment against Mr. Jackson ought not 
to be conclusive of the case„ I am aware of no technical reason 
■which should prevent the attorney-general from proceeding, in such 
a case as the present, by a criminal information ; and unless there is 
some local enactment, which has escaped my enquiry, which would 
prohibit such a measure, your Lordship will immediately instruct the 
attorney-general to adopt it. 

" Your Lordship will communicate to the Council of Protection of the 
parish of Port Royal, or to the individuals who. constituted that body^ 
in Mr. Jackson's case, a copy of this despatch, admonishing them of 
the urgent and indispensable necessity of their acting on any future 
occasion in a manner more consonant with the sacred trust imposed 
upon them, of doing equal justice between all ranks and classes of 
the King's subjects." 

Printed by Samuel Bagster, Jitn., 14, Bartholoni-ew Close, Londoa 


No. 99.] 1st AUGUST, 1832. [Vol. V. No. 9. 

solutions of Black Freeholders of Kingston, Jmnaica; — 2. Address of Free 
Black and Coloured Inhabitants of Trinidad; — 3. Address of Free Black 
and Coloured Inhabitants of the Bahamas ; — 4. Report of the House of Assem- 
bly of Jamaica on the late Rebellion ; with the Protests of the Baptist and 
Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries ; — 5. Speech of Mr. Watkis in the Jamaica 
Assembly; — 6. Farther Tersecutions in Jamaica ; — 7. Appointment of Dele- 
gates to Great Britain by Jamaica Assembly ; — 8. Trial of the Editor of the 
Jamaica Watchman for a capital felony. 


I. — Recent Intelligence from the West Indies. 
I. Resolutions of the Black Freeholders of Kingston. 

" Kingston, April 16, 1832. 

•' At a meeting of the black freeholders and other inhabitants of 
the city of Kingston, held at the house of Miss Woolery, in Church 
Street, it was unanimously resolved, that Mr. D. R. Lee be called to 
the chair. 

" Resolved 1st. — That we, the black inhabitants of the city , are 
loyally attached to our gracious and beloved Sovereign William the 

"Resolved 2d. — That we are desirous, by legal means, to secure to 
all classes of his Majesty's subjects in this island the blessings of the 
Free Constitution of Great Britain. 

"Resolved 3d. — That we are not, as has been insinuated, inimical 
to the amelioration and ultimate emancipation of our brethren in 

"Resolved 4th. — That we are not, as has been stated, at variance 
on material questions with our coloured brethren. On the contrary, 
we are ready to co-operate with them, and all liberal and just men, 
in every effort which may be legally and constitutionally made for 
the welfare of all classes in the island. 

"Resolved 5th. — That we respect the rights of private property not 
less than we desire the welfare of our brethren in slavery, and, whilst 
looking forward to the ultimate emancipation of the slaves, pursuant 
to the resolution of Parliament and of his Majesty's Government, we 
do not forget that the best redress for evil is ahvays to be found in 
the melioration of law, supported by the liberal feeling of all classes 
of the community. 

2 « 

230 Address of free black and coloured inhabitants of Trinidad. 

" Resolved 6th. — That not having exercised the right of the 
elective franchise, by means of a general dissolution of the House of 
Assembly, luhich would have enabled us to give an opinion on the 
choice of the popular branch of our legislature, we cannot be con- 
sidered as represented by the legislators by tvhose laws we are 

" Resolved 7th. — That in pursuance of the foregoing sentiments, 
we ivill cordially join our liberal-minded brethren, of every 
complexion, in any Petition or Memorial to his Majesty, or his 
Government, for the final settlement of the question of slavery, so 
that the peace and security of the island may at once be established 
on a permanent basis. 

" Resolved 8th. — That the above Resolutions be published in the 
Times, Atlas, and Examiner, London Newspapers, and Kingston 
Daily Papers, and Watchman twice. 

" David Robert Lee, Chairman. 

2. The following Document is no less important. It embodies the 
sentiments of the respectable and wealthy free black and coloured 
inhabitants of Trinidad, on the measures of reform, of his Majesty's 
Government, with a view to the extinction of slavery. It appeared 
in the Royal Gazette of Trinidad, of April 14, 1832, with this pre- 
face : — 


" The public will peruse, with much satisfaction, the address from 
his Majesty's free subjects of African descent to his Excellency the 
Governor, which we now publish for general information. The senti- 
ments which have been expressed by so numerous and respectable a 
portion of the community are highly creditable to their good sense 
and integrity, and will be duly appreciated by all who are well-wishers 
to the true interests of this valuable colony. 

" To His Excellency Sir Lewis Grant, C. H. Governor, ^c. ^-c. 3(c. 

"Sir, — We are charged by the persons whose signatures are 
affixed to the enclosed expression of their sentiments upon a late 
public event, to transmit the same to your Excellency, and we have 
now the honour of performing that duty, 

" Remaining, with all due consideration and respect, Your Ex- 
cellency's very obedient and humble Servants, 



A. Radix, 

Lewis Lebre, Jun. 

J. Edwards. 

"March 29, 1832. 

" To His Excellency Sir Lewis Grant, Governor and Com- 
mander-in-chief, ^c. S^c. ^c. 
" Sir, 

"May it please Your Excellency , 
" We, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, whose names 
are hereunto subscribed, do feel it a duty incumbent upon us to con- 

Address of free black and coloured inhabitants of Trinidad. 231 

vey to your Excellency, for ourselves, and on behalf of all our fellow 
subjects of African descent, our unanimous opinion upon certain cir- 
cumstances arising out of the promulgation of the Order in Council 
of the 2nd of November last. 

" Vf e should have limited ourselves to the strict observance of that 
line of conduct which we have hitherto pursued, as dutiful and 
obedient subjects of the King, and have consequently abstained from 
any interference whatever with the opinions and proceedings of a 
public meeting, held on the 6th January last, at which we declined 
assisting, but for one of its resolutions on the subject of allegiance to 
the crown of Great Britain, 

" Considering that this resolution has been ushered into publicity 
in a form at once solemn and imposing, — that it will be rapidly trans- 
mitted, through the medium of the daily papers, to every quarter of 
the world, and officially conveyed to the Throne, the Peers, and 
Commons' House of Parliament of Great Britain, in the name of the 
whole inhabitants of Trinidad, — it becomes our duty, as apart of these 
inhabitants, to express our unequivocal dissent from its declared 

" With reference to a protest against the late Order in Council of 
the 2nd of November last, tendered to your Excellency by the illus- 
trious Board of Cabildo, purporting to be on behalf of ' all the in- 
habitants of this colony,' and published in the Port of Spain Gazette, 
we beg leave respectfully to state to your Excellency that no indi- 
vidual of African descent has been admitted into that body, and con- 
sequently we do not recognise it as the genuine organ oi \hQ political 
opinions of our numerous class. 

" Under these circumstances, we now declare to your Excellency 
that the attachment which we feel to the Throne and Government of 
Great Britain (originating in some of us from natural affection, in 
others from adoption, and in all confirmed and fostered by a grateful 
remembrance of its liberality,) is unalterable ; and that, in the ardour 
of these sentiments, we deprecate a dissolution of the ties which bind 
us to the mother country, as the greatest calamity that could possibly 
befal ourselves and our posterity. 

" Eaithful to the engagements which we have contracted by nature 
and from compact, we glory in the title of British subjects. We hold 
it to be an enviable distinction aynong the nations of the earth, and 
are always prepared cheerfully to fulfil every duty which that 
character imposes upon us, either in obedience to the ordinances of 
our King, or in defence of his crown and dignity. 

" Humbly praying your Excellency to transmit to our gracious 
Sovereign these loyal sentiments of his faithful subjects, 

" We have the honour to subscribe ourselves, with the most perfect 
consideration and respect, 

" Your Excellency's most dutiful and obedient humble servants. 

" Port of Spain, March 26, 1832." 

^^Government-House, Trinidad, April 8, 1832. 
** Gentlemen, — 1 had the honour to receive the Address which 

232 Address of free black ^- coloured inhabitants of the Bahamas. 

accompanied your letter of the 26tli ultimo, and which was signed by 
upwards of 400 persons. 

" It was my duty, as well as a gratifying task to me, to do early 
justice to the spirit of good feeling and loyalty which pervaded that 
address. I accordingly availed myself of the opportunity which im- 
mediately offered after its receipt, to transmit it to the Secretary of 
State for the Colonial Department, with the request that it might be 
laid before his Majesty. 

" I did not fail, in my Despatch which enclosed your address, to 
point out the circumstances which, on this particular occasion, elicited 
from you, and those whom you represent, your declaration of attach- 
ment to his Majesty's Person and Government; and I have no doubt 
that your proceedings, and the laudable motives which gave rise to 
them, will be duly appreciated by his Majesty's Government, 

" I have the honour to be. Gentlemen, your most obedient Servant, 

(Signed) " Lewis Grant „ 

To John Welch Hobson,"^ 

Antoine Radix, f -n » 

Lewis Lebre, Jun. ' 

John Edwards. 

3. A similar address has been presented by the free black and 
coloured inhabitants of Neiu Providence, in the Bahamas, to 
Sir James Carmichael Smyth, the Governor, declaring that, " if all 
classes of the free inhabitants are to be admitted into the calculation, 
the extraordinary contumacy of the late House of Assembly, with re- 
spect to the several recommendations of his Majesty's Government, 
are far from being in unison with the general feeling of the popula- 
tion;" and though that House did profess an intention, under another 
Governor, of " entering on a consideration of the rights still withheld 
from the people of colour, and the further amelioration of the condi- 
tion of the slaves, yet the pledge is far too vague and inexplicit to be 
entitled to any confidence, when emanating from persons whose con- 
duct and conversation, particularly with respect to the slave question, 
continiie even to this hour in open and avowed variance with all such 

They therefore highly approve of the dissolution of this contuma- 
cious Assembly, and they tender their thanks to the Governor " for 
continuing to the colony the central schools, which afford the pleasing 
prospect that the rising generation, among the poorer classes, though 
abandoned by their guardians, to ignorance, and idleness, and vice, have 
happily found a cherishing source of protection in your Excellency's 
parental solicitude and care." 

The reply of the Governor to this address is not a little remarkable. 

" The little difficulties, he says, and the opposition I have met with, 
were, almost as a matter of course, to be expected. I arrived amongst 
you at a moment when the attention of the mother country (which 
had so long been solely engrossed by the events of the late stupen- 
d'ous war) was beginning to be steadily directed towards the details of 

Report of the House of Assembly of Jamaica. 233' 

our colonial system and policy. It was not in human nature that 
gentlemen who have passed their lives in the West Indies should at 
once get rid of those notions, respecting difference of colour, which 
we, in Europe, look upon as prejudice; nor that, accustomed from, 
their infancy to see slaves governed principally by coercion, they 
should immediately be aware of the propriety of restraining the power 
of the master, and the policy and necessity of a more liberal and 
humane slave code. You, gentlemen, who have risen above the 
narrow notions and prejudices by which you are surrounded, I honour 
and respect. I do not, however, blame other gentlemen for not seeing 
things exactly in the same point of view that we do. I shall receive 
every convert with pleasure ; and, as the more these subjects are dis- 
cussed, the more readily and rapidly truth and justice must prevail, 
I anticipate with much satisfaction, that, as the foolish agitation and 
excitement of the present moment gradually subside, so will the oppo- 
sition to the views and to the recommendations of the truly paternal 
government of his Majesty cease equally. 

"With respect to myself, I can safely assert that no man can be 
more truly anxious than I am for the peace, happiness, and prosperity 
of these islands. My best and unceasing efforts will always be directed 
to advance your interests. Most sincerely do I hope that when we 
come to have another House of Assembly, gentlemen will be chosen 
as members, who will see the justice and the policy of at once re- 
moving all degrading and harassing distinctions from the free coloured 
inhabitants; and of adopting the enactments of his Majesty's Order 
in Council of the 2nd November, as the slave law of the colony. The 
future tranquillity of these islands v/ill then be established upon a 
durable and substantial foundation. Nothing short of these arrange- 
ments can lead to any satisfactory result." 

4. The following is the Report of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, 
on the subject of the late Rebellion : — 

House of Assembly, 26th April, 1832. 
That the Report of the Committee on the Rebellion be published 
once in the several papers of this island. 
By the House, 

John G. Vidal, Clerk of the Assembly. 
Mr. Speaker, 
Your Committee appointed to enquire into the cause of, and injury 
sustained by, the recent rebellion among the slaves in this island, 


" That they have taken the examinations, on oath, of various per- 
sons, which examinations, with the original documents sent down to 
the house by his Excellency the Governor, on the 15th March last 
(and referred to the committee), as well as sundry other documents 
respecting the late rebellion, accompany this report. 

" Your Committee express it as their opinion, and do report the 

234 Report of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, 

same to the House, that the causes which have led to the late rebellion 
among the slaves in this island are as follow : — 

" The primary and most jwwerful cause arose from an evil ex- 
citement, created in the minds of our slaves generally, by the 7in- 
ceasing and unconstitutional viterference of his Majesty's Ministers 
with our local legislature , in regard to the passing of laws for their 
government, with the intemperate expression of the sentiments of the 
present Ministers, as well as other individuals in the Commons^ 
House of Parliament, hi Great Britain, on the subject of slavery : 
such discussion, coupled with the false and wicked reports of the 
Anti-Slavery Society, having been industriously circulated by the 
aid of the press throughout this island, as well as theBritish e7npire. 

" Secondly, from a delusive expectation, produced among the 
whole of the slave population, by the machinations of crafty and 
evil-disposed persons, who, taking advantage of the prevailing ex- 
citement, imposed upon their disturbed imagination a belief that 
they were to be free after Christmas, and, in the event of freedom 
being then withheld from them, they ' must be prepared to fight 
for it.'' 

" Thirdly, from a mischievous abuse existing in the system adopt- 
ed by different religious sects in this island, termed Baptists, Wes- 
leyan Methodists, and Moravians, by their recognising gradations of 
rank among such of our slaves as had become converts to their doc- 
trines, whereby the less ambitious, and more peaceable, among them, 
were made the dupes of the artful and intelligent, who had been 
selected by the preachers of those particular sects to fill the higher 
officesintheir chapels, under the denomination of 7mlers, elders, leaders, 
and helpers ; and, lastly, the public discussions of the free inhabi- 
tants here, consequent upon the continued suggestions made by the 
King's Ministers, regarding further measures of amelioration, to be 
introduced into the slave code of this island, and the preaching and 
teaching of the religious sects called Baptists, Wesley an Methodists, 
and Moravians (but more particularly the sect called Baptists), 
tvhich had the effect of producing, in the minds of the slaves, a be- 
lief that they could not sci've both a spiritual and a temporal mas- 
ter, thereby occasioning them to resist the lawful _ authority of their 
temporal, under the delusion of rendering themselves more acceptable 
to a spiritual master. 

" Your Committee further report that the injury sustained by the 
late rebellion, by the slaves wilfully setting fire to buildings, grass, 
and cane-fields destroyed, robbery and plunder of every description, 
damage done to the present and succeeding crops, loss of the labour 
of slaves, besides those killed in suppressing such rebellion, and exe- 
cuted after trial, as incendiaries, rebels, and murderers, has been 
ascertained by means of Commissioners appointed under an order of 
the House, and by the detailed returns made to the Committee, in 
conformity with such order, to amount to the following sums of 
money, viz. — 

In the parish of St. James, the sum of . £606,250 

, In the parish of Hanover, the sum of . 425,810 15 

Protest of the Baptist Missionaries. 235 

In the parish of Westmoreland, the sum of 47,092 
In the parish of St. Elizabeth, the sum of 22,146 9 7 
In the parish of Trelawny, the sum of . 4,960 7 6 
Amount of injury sustained in the county of — — 

Cornwall " 1,106,259 12 1 

In the parish of Manchester, 

the sum of . . . 46,270 
Amount of injury sustained in the county of 

Middlesex 46,270 

In the parish of Portland, 

the sum of . . . 772 10 

In the Parish of St. Thomas 

in the East . . . 1,280 
Amount of injury sustained in the county of 

Surrey 2,053 10 

£1,154,583 2 1 

"To which is to be added the sum of £161,596. 195. 9tZ., being the 
expense incurred in suppressing the late rebellion, and a further ex- 
pense, not yet ascertained, which has accrued since martial law 
ceased, being the pay and rations of a portion of the Maroons, as 
well as detachments of the island militia employed in the pursuit of 
such of the rebellious slaves who have not surrendered themselves, 
but remain out, and are sheltered amongst the almost inaccessible 
forests and fastnesses in the interior districts of the island. 

" Your Committee recommend that the examinations taken before 
them, the confessions numbered from one to eleven, and the detailed 
returns of the Commissioners appointed under the order of the House, 
to ascertain the injury sustained by the late rebellion, be inserted in 
the minutes of the House, and printed therev/ith ; and that the re- 
maining documents be lodged in the office of the Clerk of the House." 

" The evidence on which this extraordinary report is founded we trust 
will be forthwith published. In the mean time, the following spirited 
protests against it have appeared in the public papers of Jamaica : — ■ 


" The Bajjtist missionaries have viewed with indignation and abhor- 
rence the unjust attempt made by the Committee of the Hon. House 
of Assembly , appointed to examine into the causes of the late rebel- 
lion, to injure their characters in the estimation of the British jmb- 
lic, by preferring charges against them which cannot be substantiated 
— charges as repugnant to the feelings of the missionaries, as dis- 
honourable to the men who framed them. 

" It is not for the Baptist missionaries to say what was the primary 
or secondary cause of the late disastrous events ; it is sufficient for 
them at present to state that neither their ' preaching, teaching,' nor 
conduct was that cause, aiid they dare the ' Rebellion Committee' 
to prove thai it tvas so. 

236 Protest of the Wesleyan Methodists. 

" The Baptist missionaries, conscious of their innocence of the 
charges publicly preferred against them in the report of the ' Rebel- 
lion Committee,' feel it to be a duty they owe to themselves — to their 
friends in this country — to the Baptist Missionary Society in England 
to which they are attached, and to the religious world at large, thus 
publicly to state that the charges brought against them, by that com- 
mittee, are unfounded and unjust ; that they have wantonly and 
grossly libelled men, whose characters have never yet been sullied ; 
who have ever submitted in all civil matters unto the powers that be ; 
who have inculcated on servants and slaves the duty of obedience to 
their masters, and the tenor of whose rninistrations has been agree- 
able with, and in conformity to, the doctrines and precepts of that 
gospel which is both pure and peaceable . 

" One of the Baptist missionaries has already been tried on these 
charges, by the highest legal authorities in the island, and acquit- 
ted, and all of them have shown their willingness to submit to any 
legal iyivestigation into their conduct. 

" Deep-rooted andunbending prejudice has been manifested towards 
them by men from whom they ought to have received protection. — • 
Bribery, perjury, and every species of iniquity has been resorted to, 
for the purpose of criminating the ' Baptist missionaries in particu- 
lar,^ but in vain ; and yet the ' Rebellion Committee' have con- 
demned them unheard — have found them guilty on evidence ivhich 
the missionaries have never been made acquainted with; consequently, 
neither themselves nor their friends have had an opportunity of dis- 
proving it, and have condemned, hi toto, preaching which they have 
never heard. 

" These facts, to the enlightened and unprejudiced public of Great 
Britain, will afford sufficient proof that the " Rebellion Committee'^ 
have merely chosen this apparently favourable opportunity, for the 
purpose of expressing their determined and long -cherished hatred to 
religion and its propagators, and they will, at the same time, tend 
to establish, more firmly than ever, the unimpeachable characters of 

"■ The Baptist Missionaries." 

" Kingston, May Sth, 1832." 


" Kingston, May Uth, 1832. 

" At a meeting of the Wesleyan Missionaries, and of the Leaders of 
their respective Societies, in this island, convened by the Chairman 
of the District, and held in the Parade Chapel, this 10th day of May, 
1832, for the purpose of protesting against the Report of the Com- 
mittee appointed by the Honourable House of Assembly to ascertain 
the causes of the late rebellion, — It was unanimously 

" Resolved 1st, — That we have read the Report of the Committee 
appointed by the Honourable House of Assembly, to enquire into the 
causes of the late Rebellion in this island ; and perceive, with great 
surprise and indignation, the unworthy attempt which is made to im- 
plicate us, and our people, as the promoters of the same. 

Protest of the Wesleymi Methodists. 237 

Resolved 2d, — That as neither the Wesley an missio7iaries, nor the 
leaders in their Societies, were directly or hidirectly concerned in in- 
stigating, or in any way aiding in the late Rebellion, we consider the 
aforesaid report, as far as it relates to the " Wesleyan Methodists/* 
utterly false and utifounded ; nearly all the " leaders" being re- 
spectable free persons, most of whom are owners of slaves. 

" Resolved 3d, — ^That as the report aforesaid is calculated to bring 
our system into disrepute, by asserting that it affords facilities for ex- 
citing rebellion among the slaves, we feel ourselves called upon to 
maintain that our system is scriptural, and peculiarly calculated to 
promote peace and good order among all classes of his Majesty's sub- 
jects, whether free or slaves ; and that nothing contrary to this cayi 
be proved against it. That, therefore, the aforesaid report is a gross 
calumny, not only upon ourselves and people in this island, but also 
upon the body to which tve belong. 

" Resolved 4th, — That being conscious of our own innocence, and 
of the praiseworthy conduct of the members of our Societies in this 
island during the late disturbances, we consider it our imperative duty 
to protest, in the most public and solemn manner, both here and in 
Great Britain, against the charges preferred against us in the report 
aforesaid ; and also against the conduct of individuals who could 
make such a wanton attack upon our characters, ivithout alloiving us 
an opportunity of self-vindicatio7i. 

"Resolved 5th, — That the assertion, contained in the aforesaid re- 
port, that the ' preaching' and ' teaching' of the ' Wesleyan Method- 
ists' is calculated to mislead the minds of the slaves, on the subject 
of ' lawful authority,' is unworthy our serious consideration ; their 
ability to expound and enforce the Holy Scriptures having been de- 
cided by a competent tribunal, and the falsehood of the charge can 
be refuted by an appeal to the thousands of their hearers throughout 
the island. 

" Resolved 6th, — That we feel ourselves called upon expressly to 
state that there are no ' gradations of rank' recognized in our So- 
cieties, in connexion with the slaves in this colony, but members and 
' leaders,' of whom we entertain the highest opinion, and whose con- 
duct is unimpeachable. 

" Resolved 7th, — That these resolutions be signed by all present 
on behalf of our Societies in this island, and that a copy of them, 
signed by the Chairman and Secretary of this meeting, in behalf of 
the seventeen missionaries, and four hundred and forty-six leaders, 
be forwarded immediately to his Excellency the Governor, the Earl 
of Belmore. 

" Resolved 8th, — ^That these resolutions be published in three of 
the Island Newspapers, that a copy be transmitted, with the least 
possible delay, to our Committee in London, and by them presented 
to our most Gracious Sovereign, in any way which to them may 
appear the most acceptable. 

"Thomas Pennock, Chairman. 
"Thomas Murray, Secretary." 

2 1 

238 Speech of Mr. Watkis. 

5. Sjjeech of Mr. Watkis in the House of Assembly of Jamaica, 
on the Wth of April, 1832. 

Mr. Watkis, pursuant to notice, moved for the appointment of a 
Committee to enquire into and adjust the differences between us and 
the parent government. "My object," said the honourable member, "in 
submitting this motion to the consideration of the House, is to obtain 
the aid of a Committee in order to ascertain whether there is not some 
common ground of mutual advantage on which the House might be 
recommended to co-operate with the parent country in settling, on a 
final and beneficial basis, the great questions that have given birth to 
the unhappy differences which now sever us. That such a settlement 
might be effected, or at all events very much facilitated, I am firmly 
convinced, provided the two parties could once be brought into ami- 
cable contact. The ultimate aim of my present motion is to place 
them, if possible, in this conciliating relation towards each other. 
Much is in our power, and much will be required at our hands. To 
us are confided the very issues of the social destiny — the most solemn 
trust man could hold for man. And, on the wise and temperate 
manner in which we discharge this high trust, depend the present 
safety and future hopes of this community. When, Sir, we regard 
the advancing state of political philosophy, as well in our own com- 
munity as in all the civilized nations of the globe, it appears to me to 
be the wildest of hopes to expect, by any efforts in our power, to se- 
cure the perpetuation of slavery ; and when again we meditate for a 
moment on the almost mortal agony through which this country has 
just and scarcely struggled, it is surely even worse than wild to wish 
to perpetuate a system which, be it remembered, not in our day and 
country only, but throughout all times and in all lands where it has 
existed, has engendered the same monstrous brood of evils — has led 
to the same results of insurrection, woe, and crime. Again, Sir, if we 
judge by the known principles of human nature, or appeal to the ex- 
perience of all history, we cannot avoid arriving at the conviction that 
all governments, founded on the exclusion of the mass from a partici- 
pation in political rights, are by the very law of their constitution liable 
to change ; they contain within themselves the elements of their own 
decay and ultimate destruction. And why ? because they are based on 
the principles offeree and fear — -not on those of happiness and love. 
It is manifest that such governments can be maintained only by the mo- 
ral influence of superior intelligence or by the coercion of superior phy- 
sical power. As the Negro exchanges (which he is rapidly doing) his 
ignorance for enlightenment, the spell wherewith superior intelligence 
may for a while have bound the slumbering energies of his soul, must 
dissolve, and, when that enlightenment shall have attained a certain 
point, it is clear as the sun at noon that no physical force we can 
raise will be sufficient to control him. It is impossible, too, to dis- 
guise from ourselves the fact that our Negroes have now nearly attained 
that measure of enlightenment at which they must cease to be slaves ; 
and, without pretending to the mantle of prophecy, it is not difficult 
to predict that if some steps are not speedily taken, we shall again, 

Fresh Persecutions in Jamaica. 239 

and that perhaps soon, have to mourn our ruined fortunes and mur- 
dered kindred. Situated therefore as we are, with such darkening 
prospects around us, it assuredly behoves us, in timely resignation, to 
descend from our pride of place, instead of brooding over schemes of 
bootless opposition to a tide of change which we can neither stem nor 
turn, and in which gathering flood all opposition must eventually be 
whelmed. If we offer, in a spirit of wise and liberal concession, to 
co-operate with the British Government, we shall be met with a like 
spirit of wisdom and concession, from which good must flow to all 
parties and evil to none. I have been persecuted with calumny on 
account of the very humble part that I have taken in promoting what, 
in my conscience, I believe to be the real interests of this island. But 
no persecution, no hate, no calumny, shall ever for one instant deter 
me from expressing and enforcing my opinions through the constitu- 
tional organ of this House, Those opinions are the unchangeable 
convictions of my reason, and, so long as life and opportunity are left 
me, I will unceasingly labour to advance that noblest work — the po- 
litical and moral regeneration of mankind." 

Mr. Beaumont seconded the motion. 

Mr. Lynch said, that agreeably to the resolution entered into at an 
early period of the sessions, which resolution he read, no measure, 
having for its object the further amelioration of slavery, could be en- 
tertained by the House. 

The Speaker being appealed to said that the rule did apply. The 
motion was therefore lost. 

6. Fresh Persecutions in Jamaica. 
" Between seven and nine o'clock on Saturday evening, the 7th 
(April, 1832), as the Rev. Mr, Bleby, a Wesleyan minister, and his 
lady, were sitting to tea at their hired residence in Falmouth, a band 
of white and one or two coloured ruffians rushed into the house and 
seized him, using extremely violent and abusive language, calling him 

a d d preaching villain, &c. &c. ; they then forced Mr, B. to the 

opposite side of the room, four or five holding him whilst one struck 
him violently on the head — they were all armed with bludgeons. One 
of the ruffians brought a keg of tar into the room, and, whilst some 
held him, others spread the tar with their hands over his head, face, 
breast, and clothes. Whilst this brutal assault was going on, the 
fellow named Dobson, who struck Mr. Bleby, attempted to set 
Mr. B.'s pantaloons on fire, but was prevented by one of the gang. 
He immediately after applied the candle to the tar on Mr. B.'s breast, 
but Mrs. Bleby seeing it dashed the candle from his hand, and it 
went out. In attempting to interpose between the ruffians and Mr, B., 
Mrs. Bleby was seized by one of them and dashed violently on the 
floor, the effect of which, our informant affirms, she still severely 
feels. Two of the gang attempted to lock her in the pantry, but she 
managed to elude their intention. By this time, the alarm having 
been given, some people came to Mr. and Mrs. Blcby's assistance, 
and commenced an attack on the villains who were below stairs ; this 

240 Fresh Persecutions in Jamaica. 

so alarmed those that were employed above that they left Mr. Bleby 
and hastened to the assistance of their fellows, and eventually made 
their escape, but not until two or three had received the drubbing 
which they richly deserved — one so much so as to endanger his life. 
About this time Mrs. Bleby with her child escaped through the crowd, 
without her bonnet and with one shoe, the villains having first be- 
daubed her and her child (about five months old) with tar ! ! Mr. B., 
who was guarded by a party of coloured and black young men, took 
shelter in a neighbouring house. Mr. Miller, with a party of the 22d 
regiment, soon after arrived on the spot, to whom Mr. B. stated what 
had occurred, and claimed protection at their hands. Mr. B. was 
taken to the barracks for the night, and Mrs. Bleby was kindly shel- 
tered by Mrs. Jackson, the lady of the Clerk of the Peace, who offered 
her all requisite assistance. On Sunday the attack was to have been 
renewed, but it did not take place. As a specimen of Falmouth jus- 
tice, the young men who went to Mr. Bleby's assistance were dis- 
armed, by authority, and are to-day to be tried by a court-martial for 
the crime of protecting a Missionary, his wife, and harmless infant ! ! ! 
— Watchman, I4th April. 

To the Editor of the Watchman. 

, Sir, 21st April, 1832. 

I have received from the Rev. Edward Baylis the inclosed account 
of the atrocious and blood-thirsty attack made upon him and his 
family by armed banditti who are now infesting this country, and 
who, with their associates, have already destroyed property to the 
amount of twenty thousand pounds, luithout any measures being 
adopted to bring them to justice. Its insertion in your paper will 
oblige. Sir, your obedient servant, 

Wm. Knibb. 

'* On Friday evening, the 6th of April, as we were retiring to rest, 
a mob of white men, chiefly overseers and book-keepers, armed with 
swords, muskets, bayonets, and pistols, rode up to our peaceful habi- 
tation at Mount Charles, howling as they approached the house like a 
company of savages. After they had entered the gate of the premises 
they met with the watchman, a poor faithful old free negro, who was 
about to give an alarm. Though he had nothing wherewith to defend 
himself, they fell upon him and cut him very severely with their 
swords on his head and body, and stabbed him with a bayonet in his 
side. He now lies in a dangerous state, and fears are entertained of 
his death. 

" When these champions of the Colonial Church Union reached the 
dwelling-house, they commenced their operations by breaking open 
the door and firing their muskets into the house. They then pro- 
ceeded to destroy the bed-room windows, forcing in the glass-framed 
shutters with such violence that the bed on which Mrs. Baylis and 
our little infant were reposing were literally covered with the frag- 
ments. They then discharged their muskets and pistols in each of 
the bed-room windows (but in much mercy our heavenly Father pre- 
vented their murderous designs from being accomplished), while one 

Delegates appointed hy the Assembly of Jamaica, 241 

of them puthis arm through one of the windows, took alighted candle 
from off the table, and endeavoured with it to set fire to the bed-room. 
Mrs. Baylis prevented this by putting out the light ere any of the 
furniture in the room had ignited. 

" After this these murderous members of this church-destroying 
society demolished the windows in the house, swearing that the house 
should be destroyed that night, while some of them broke open the 
stores, calling aloud for fire to burn them, but in this they were de- 

" I Avent unarmed to the door and remonstrated with them, when 
some appeared ashamed of their conduct, but others grew more vio- 
lent. By this time an alarm was sounded in the neighbourhood, when 
the wretches made a precipitate retreat. Though we are in a part of the 
country not thickly inhabited, soon more than three hundred persons, 
coloured and black, ran to our assistance, and, had not these midnight 
marauders made off on their horses, the death they had intended for 
us would have doubtless been their lot. 

" The coloured and black population around us are now on the 
alert, and under their protection we feel ourselves comparatively safe, 
and are highly thankful to that Divine Being who so mercifully pre- 
served us when exposed to imminent danger." 

7. Delegates appointed by the Assembly of Jamaica. 

It appears from the Royal Gazette of Jamaica, of the 28th April, 
1832, that the House of Assembly had adopted resolutions to the fol- 
lowing effect : — 

" 1, — That the very alarming and ruinous state of the island calls 
upon the representatives of the unjustly calumniated and deeply op- 
pressed inhabitants thereof, to adopt some measure that is likely to 
obtain substantial justice and permanent relief against the undeserved 
calamities they now endure, and are further threatened with. 

" 2. — ^That the appointment of a Committee from among the repre- 
sentatives of the people, to proceed to Great Britain for the purpose 
of laying their grievances at the foot of the Throne for redress, is a 
measure likely to be beneficial to the best interests of the colony. 

" 3. — That the Hon. Richard Barrett, Speaker, and Hon. Abraham 
Hodgson, mem.bers of this House, be, and are appointed, a Committee 
from this island, and that they do embark for Great Britain at their 
earliest convenience, so as to be in time to meet the next Session of 
the Imperial Parliament. 

" 4. — That this House will defray the expenses of the members 
composing the Committee appointed to proceed to Great Britain, and 
that the Receiver-General be directed to pay to each of the members 
thereof the sum of £1000 sterling, free of premium, previous to em- 
barking for Great Britain, on account of such expenses. 

" 5. — That it be recommended to the House to appoint a Com- 
mittee to bring in a bill to authorize the Governor, or Lieutenant- 
Governor, for the time being, to grant leave of absence to the Hon. 

242 Rebellion in Jamaica. 

Richard Barrett, as Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court, to proceed 
to England without prejudice to his seniority. 

" 6. — ^That this House grant leave of absence to their Speaker, the 
Hon. Richard Barrett, and to the Hon. Abraham Hodgson, to visit 
England, to lay their grievances at the foot of the Throne. 

" 7. — That this House will elect a Speaker pro tempore (if necessary) 
during the absence of the Hon. Richard Barrett, their Speaker. 

8. Trial of the Editor of the Jamaica Watchman for a Capital 


There is an act of the legislature of Jamaica which declares that, 
" if any person shall maliciously and advisedly endeavour to excite, 
or stir up, any free person or slave to commit any act of insurrection 
or rebellion, he shall be deemed and adjudged to be guilty of felony, 
and shall suffer death, without benefit of clergy." 

Under this act Mr. Jordon, the Editor of the Watchman, was on 
the 17th of April last tried capitally, for having, in his paper of the 
7th of the same month, used the following language : — " Now that 
the member of Westmoreland (Mr. Beaumont) is on our side, we shall 
be happy, with him and the other friends of humanity, to give a long 
pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether, until we bring down the 
system by the run, knock off the fetters, and let the oppressed go 

He seems to have been saved from the martyrdom intended for him, 
as the enemy of slavery and the friend of missions and missionaries, 
only by a failure in the proof of editorship on the day laid in the 

n. — Rebellion in Jamaica. 

In our No. 94 we took a review of the exciting causes of the late 
commotion in Jamaica, and we traced its origin, as we conceive, not 
to the rebellious spirit of the slaves, but to the rashness, and impru- 
dence, and impetuosity of the white community, who seem actually to 
have driven the slaves into insubordination and resistance. This con- 
clusion seems to us to be confirmed by papers since laid before Parlia- 
ment. Among these, in a document printed by order of the House 
of Commons on the 16th March, 1832, numbered 285, is a Despatch 
of the 1st of March, 1832, which Lord Goderich addressed to the 
Earl of Belmore in reply to the details of the insurrection contained in 
his despatch of the 6th of January preceding; the following are 
extracts from it : — 

" The proximate cause of the commotions in the parishes of St. James and 
Trelawny, in the months of December and January last, is considered -by your 
Lordship to have been the prevalency, amongst the slaves in those parishes, of 
the opinion that some law had been enacted in this kingdom for their general 
and immediate emancipation, which their owners had studiously concealed and 
unanimously disobeyed ; and to the general adoption by the slaves of the further 
■opinion that, in asserting their liberty by force, they were secure against the 
hostility of his Majesty's naval and military forces, if indeed they could not 
seasonably calculate on their assistance and co-operation. These misconceptions 

Rebellion in Jamaica. 243 

your Lordship traces to the various public discussions on the subject of slavery 
by which the Colony had been agitated. In considering the view which you 
have thus taken of the subject I have been led to cast a retrospect over the 
events of the last nine years, so eventful in the history of the British West- 

His Lordship having then adverted to the various assurances given 
by Lord Belmore in his despatches, during the course of 1831, of the 
tranquillity prevailing among the slaves, and of the unusual excite- 
ment existing among the planters, of which v^e have already given 
some account (No. 94, p. 94 — 98, and p, 108), thus proceeds : — 

" However little the slaves may in general be capable of reading, or have 
the opportunity to read the public newspapers, yet it would be irrational to 
doubt that rumours must circulate amongst them of the progress of a debate in 
which they are so deeply interested, and that they must form many strange and 
exaggerated conceptions of facts which are at once so often impressed and so 
discoloured by the prejudices and passions of those who undertake to relate them. 
From the various documents which accompany your Lordship's despatch it may, 
with sufficient distinctness, be collected that, towards the end of the last year, 
there prevailed generally amongst the slaves in St. James's and Trelawny the 
opinion to wliich I have already refeixed, that a law had passed for their eman- 
cipation which their owners had suppressed and disobeyed ; and that, in assert- 
ing their freedom, the slaves might calculate upon the neutrality, if not upon the 
assistance, of the king's naval and military forces. I further find that the exist- 
ence of these misconceptions, known as they were to the resident magistracy and 
proprietors, was not communicated to your Lordship, although your instructions 
to the Custodes, of the month of July, had anxiously enjoined those officers to 
convey to you any such intelligence ; and, lastly, it is but too evident that no 
effiart was made by them to dispel the delusions under which the slaves were 
thus known to be labouring. 

" In confirmation of these statements I especially refer to Sir Willoughby 
Cotton's despatch of the 5th of January, in which he observes ' that the over-' 
seers, or attorneys, or magistrates, should not have acquainted the Executive 
Government with the extent to which the determination of the Negroes had gone, 
all round their district, not to work after New- Year's Day without being made 
free, is most astonishing, as it would appear to have been known on almost all 
the estates that these were the sentiments of the Negroes.' Mr. M'Donald, the 
Custos of Trelawny, in his despatch of the 4th of January, says, ' If other gen- 
tlemen had acted with the same kindness, and taken the same pains to explain 
the real nature of things as I have done, I do not think that this unfortunate in- 
surrection would have been so general.' 

" Again, in his despatch of the 3rd January, Sir W. Cotton informed your 
Lordship that the whole of the men shot yesterday stated that they had been 
told by white people, for a long time past, that they were to be free at Christ- 
mas, and that the freedom order had actually come out from England, but was 

" Similar statements abound in the documents before me. Yet it now appears 
that, until the 22nd December, your Lordship had been left in such entire igno- 
rance of those facts, that, at that late period, you, for the first time, thought it 
necessary to publish his Majesty's proclamation, and in the very letter transmit- 
ting it to the Custodes you referred to insubordination as existing only on a 
single estate, and to ' the uninterrupted tranquillity which had hitherto prevailed 
throughout the island.' 

" I have entered thus at length into these details because they appear to me 
most important in affording a solution of the causes to which, in part at least, 
must be attributed the calamitous events which followed. After exhortations , 

244 ReBellion in Jamaica. 

repeated by his Majesty's Government for more than eight successive years, vvrithout 
effect ; after such public meetings as I have mentioned in every part of the island ; 
after the circulation of the resolutions and public journals already noticed ; after 
the convention of a body of delegates at the capital ; and after secret debates in 
the House of Assembly, followed by the rejection of the measures proposed there 
for the benefit of the slaves, it must have become to every reflecting man suffi- 
ciently evident that the peace of the island was placed in extreme jeopardy, and 
that the slaves could scarcely escape the infection of those opinions which they 
appear to have adopted. How fraught with danger to the public safety was the 
prevalence of such opinions among a people so ignorant and so easily excited it 
were superfluous to remark. Induced, as they had been, to suppose that the 
royal authority was opposed in their favour to that of their owners, and that de- 
signs were entertained by the king's government which the colonial magistracy 
and proprietors intended to counteract by force, the sense of supposed injustice, 
combining with a plausible expectation of impunity in resisting it, could scarcely 
fail to urge them to acts of open rebellion. That imder such circumstances the 
proprietors should, in your Lordship's forcible terms, have been heedless * of the 
brink of danger on which they stood ;' that, as the Custos of Trelawny remarks, 
* they should not have taken pains to explain the real nature of things' to the 
slaves, and that, regardless of your Lordship's repeated admonitions, they should 
have left you in ignorance of the prevalent state of opinion amongst that class of 
society, is, as Sir Willoughby Cotton justly observes, ' most astonishing.' It 
were wholly irrational to suppose that any single person in Jamaica, much more 
that any body of men, could be guilty of the incredible folly and wickedness of 
deliberately concealing the truth, either from the slaves under their charge or from 
the local government, with any settled design of bringing reproach on the mea- 
sures of improvement so long in agitation. And I can ascribe the apathy which 
seems to have prevailed to nothing but the ordinary influence of those feelings 
which render men insensible to any risk, however formidable, with which habit 
has rendered them familiar." 

It is impossible to deny the justice of these observations. They 
are in exact accordance with those which the notoriety of many of 
the facts on which they are founded must have led any man of com- 
mon sense to make, on what had occurred in Jamaica. In one respect, 
however, we somewhat differ from his Lordship. We see no satis- 
factory proofs exhibited that, previous to Christmas, the slaves had 
entertained the idea of ceasing to labour on the plantations, how- 
ever they might have been aware that the benevolent purposes of the 
Government towards them were met by determined resistance on the 
part of their masters ; or that the planters knew, or were impressed 
with the belief, that the slaves had adopted any such idea. On the 
contrary, we can discover, neither in Lord Belmore's despatch, nor in 
any evidence we have yet seen, any proof which seems decisive, that 
up to that period such a notion of ceasing to labour had prevailed 
among the slaves generally, or that any such apprehensions were 
entertained by the planters. Not even a surinise to that effect ap- 
pears to have transpired until the disturbance had commenced and 
was at its height. Then, indeed, we are told that such had been 
the previous intentions of the slaves ; and that the existence of such 
intentions had been for some time universally known to the planters. 
But is this quite credible ? Was it possible that in a community 
so constituted as that of Jamaica, at that time too in a state of pecu- 
liar excitability, a dead and unbroken silence on this supremely inter- 

Rebellion in Jamaica. 245 

esting point, as if by common consent, should have prevailed among 
all its free population — that not one journal, even in the disturbed 
districts, should have alluded to the circumstance, or sounded the 
note of alarm 1 The total absence of all prudent reserve, in their 
ordinary communications, on which Lord Goderich so justly remarks, 
forbids our giving implicit credit to the unsupported statements of the 
planters, on which alone Sir Willoughby Cotton and Lord Belmore 
found their representations, and the whole of whose statements may 
have been, for any proof adduced to the contrary, a mere afterthought, 
intended to hide from public view the really proximate and inciting 
cause of the disturbance. The force of the previously-known and 
unquestionable facts of the case ought not to be invalidated merely 
by Sir W, Cotton's echo of the interested assertions of the planters of 
St. James's and Trelawny, or his report of unauthenticated confes- 
sions from some wretched slaves, when on the point of being hanged 
or shot without record, and without trial. 

This conviction is scarcely weakened by the evidence attached to 
the Report of the Assembly inserted above, p. 235, and which has 
been printed by Order of the House of Commons (28 June, 1832, No. 
561), but which did not reach our hands until the foregoing sheet had 
already been printed. Nothing can be conceived more utterly vague 
and unsatisfactory than that evidence. It actually proves nothing 
but the eager desire of the Committee of the Assembly to shift the 
blame of the insurrection from their own shoulders to the Government, 
the Missionaries, and the Saints. We should require nothing more 
than the perusal of that mass of absurdity, and mere hearsay gossip, 
to set that question at rest. And yet it is made the foundation, 
the only foundation, in the Report of the Committee adopted by the 
Assembly, for the very gravest charges, not only against his Majesty's 
Government and Parliament, but against the Anti-Slavery Society, 
the Baptists, the Wesleyan Methodists, and the Moravians. What 
may we not suppose to have been the kind of evidence which satisfied 
those Drum-head Courts Martial which have so unsparingly shed the 
blood of the Negroes on this occasion 1 If they proceeded on such or 
such like evidence, every execution must have been a Murder. 

But, it may be asked, was it not natural that the slaves should have 
been led to entertain such sentiments and intentions ? We do not 
deny it. But still we think the evidence that they did entertain them, 
and above all that they were known by the planters to entertain 
them, is most unsatisfactorily established. That they were in a state 
of great excitement, produced by the causes specified by Lord Gode- 
rich, is highly probable ; but we can find no sufficient proof that any 
plan had been formed by them of ceasing to labour on a particular 
day, or of resorting to acts of insubordination in order to assert their 
freedom. Of such a plan, or even of such an intention, no proof that 
is tangible appears to us to have hitherto been produced. On the 
contrary, nothing has appeared to show that if they had been left to 
the enjoyment of their usual Christmas holidays in the parish of St. 
James and Trelawny, and in those immediately adjoining, as there 
is reason to believe they were in the other parts of the Island, they 

2 K 

246 Rebellion in Jamaica. 

would not have quietly resumed their labours as they had always been 
accustomed to do when those holidays had expired. 

This interference with the usual holidays indicated so much of utter 
insanity on the part of the planters that Lord Goderich refuses to cre- 
dit the possibility of such a circumstance, and, in the absence of any 
direct reference to it by Lord Belmore, he calls for farther proof. 
And yet the evidence stated by us in our former number (No. 94, pp. 
99 — 103) seems, in the absence of better information, to be almost 
irrefragable. Lord Goderich indeed states that he had been able to 
discover only two overt acts of violence indicating a rebellious spirit 
before the Christmas holidays. But he goes on to observe : — 

" Your Lordship will find, on reference to my despatch of 16th June last, a 
remark upon the Slave Act of the preceding February, which I shall here tran- 
scribe : — ' The former statute declares that, for the future, all slaves in the island 
shall be allowed the usual seasons of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide. It 
is now enacted that they shall be allowed the usual holidays of Christmas and 
Easter. Thus the three annual holidays are reduced to two, and the slave is 
deprived of the security formerly given to him that he should enjoy the usual 
number of such days.' ^ 

" When writing this passage, I was strongly impressed with the importance 
and danger of such an innovation, knowing that the value of a holiday could not 
be correctly estimated, except by endeavouring to enter into the feelings of those 
who were to enjoy or to lose it, and believing that the slaves would attach to this 
very ancient privilege an importance which, to persons in a very different condi- 
tion of life, might easily appear exaggerated. 

" In the year 1831 the 25th of December was a Sunday, and, that being a day 
privileged on other grounds, the slaves, as appears from Mr. Annand's statement, 
conceived themselves entitled to the three following days — a pretension very rea- 
sonable in itself, and to which it appears Mr. Annand consented, on condition 
that the gang should first turn out. He says that, before the demand was made, 
he had ordered them to turn out to work. On referring to the despatch of the 
Gustos of Trelawny of the 28th of December (the Wednesday already mentioned) 
I find the following passage : — ' I believe nine-tenths of the whole slave popula- 
tion have this morning refused to turn out to work.' The refusal, of course, pre- 
supposes the demand ; and it must be inferred, from the expressions employed 
by the Gustos, that the demand was addressed'to at least nine-tenths of the po- 
pulation. That the words of the new law might be urged in defence of this 
innovation I do not deny; but the impolicy of innovating upon such a subject is 
but the more strongly impressed on my mind by that circumstance. What effect 
this attempted abridgment of the usual relaxation of Christmas may have had, 
or whether it contributed at all to the subsequent revolt, are conclusions which, 
in my present state of information, I do not feel myself warranted to draw. It 
is, however, most important that your Lordship's attention should be directed to 
the subject, in order that a ground of discontent so easily removed may no longer 
be permitted to exasperate the slaves. The season of Whitsuntide is not very 
remote, and I greatly dread the effect which may be produced on the minds 
of the Negroes when they shall, for the first time, experience the loss of that 

Now it is perfectly plain that the "refusal" of the slaves to turn 
out on this holiday, as we have proved (No. 94, p. 101), was regarded 
by the planters as " actual rebellion : " and, in order to quell it, un- 
sparing military execution was at once resorted to. The head and 
front of their offending in the first instance, therefore, appears to be 
that, having been ordered to turn out into the field on the Wednesday 

Rebellion in Jamaica. 247 

morning, they did not do so, conceiving the order to be unwarranted ; 
and had the matter been passed over, as it ought to have been, there, 
in all probability, the disobedience would have terminated : they 
would have had the day they reasonably claimed, and, on the suc- 
ceeding day, to which they made no claim, they would probably have 
been found quietly at their work, as at other times, and in other 
parishes. But, in the mean time, the attack and the massacre had 
commenced. The slaves, terrified, fled to the woods. And what 
else could they do? Flight seemed their only means of safety from 
indiscriminate slaughter ; but this very flight was made an aggrava- 
tion of their crime. They were first causelessly treated as rebels, for 
refusing to comply with what they deemed an illegal demand ; and 
then the attempt to escape summary execution as rebels, by 
quitting the plantation, was regarded as proving them rebels. They 
were first assumed to be so, and the flight which followed the attack 
on them as such is adduced as proof of the assumption. 

It is difficult for men unacquainted with the peculiar structure of 
society in a slave colony to conceive what the effect Avould be of let- 
ting loose a body of armed planters on an unarmed black population 
which has dared to indicate, by common consent, any hesitation to 
obey the master's will, or to assume an attitude of resistance to it, 
however passive. Their rage and resentment would know no bounds; 
and it is impossible to estimate the atrocities which these might tend to 
produce. Nor will any one who knows what human nature is be sur- 
prised that the terror, and dismay, and suffering of the slaves, caused 
by such atrocities, should excite, in the minds at least of many of 
them, feelings of exasperation and revenge, sharpened by all they 
already knew of the wishes of the Government towards them, and of 
the contumacious and rebellous resistance of the planters to those 
wishes. Hence, without arms, or other means of annoyance or de- 
fence, they would naturally and almost necessarily resort, as their 
sole weapon of retaliation, to nocturnal conflagration (for from blood 
they seem to have shrunk), every act of which would serve to inflame 
still more the fury and vengeance of the dominant party. What could 
be expected under such circumstances, but the scenes of slaughter and 
of desolation which have marked this unhappy movement ? Fear is 
the most cruel of all passions ; and blind terror, on the part of both 
planter and slave, was here in full and destructive operation. 

Let it be remembered, too, that our only details of these transac- 
tions are from the planters. But every part even of these details 
manifests that contempt of Negro rights and feelings, and that in- 
difference to Negro life, which Negro Slavery always does and always 
must generate in the breasts of those who administer it. Its corrupting 
influence is there awfully and characteristically exhibited, and extends 
not only to the slaves themselves, but to all who dare to indicate any 
sympathy in their sufferings. 

We could exemplify this position by innumerable extracts from the 
journals of Jamaica during the first three months of the present 
year, but we forbear. In the mean time we greatly desiderate lists of 
the killed and wounded on both sides. 

Some of the concluding paragraphs in the despatch are particu- 

248 Rebellion in Jamaica. 

larly deserving of the attention of the public. We quote them with 
much satisfaction. 

" I am aware that to persevere in the measures announced in my despatch of 
the 10th December, at the present moment, may possibly be described as preg- 
nant with imminent danger. I still, however, think that his Majesty's Govern- 
ment could not desist from urging the proposed measures of relief, and that the 
Colonial Legislature could not reject that proposal without incurring another 
danger, at least as imminent. Throughout this protracted controversy the voice of 
dispassionate reason has, unhappily, been seldom heard or heeded amidst the 
violent invectives with which the contending parties have mutually assailed each 
other. It is at once my duty and my earnest desire to inculcate on all parties a 
spirit of moderation and mutual forbearance, and to warn them of the inevitable 
calamities which must follow if interests so momentous shall continue to be made 
the sport of angry passions. In considering the situation of the gentlemen with 
whom the legislative authority in Jamaica resides, I cannot forget the difficulties 
with which they have to contend, nor employ any other language than that of 
conciliation and respect; yet I would wish, with the utmost earnestness, to im- 
press upon them that they cannot safely overlook the state of society and of pub- 
lic opinion throughout the civilised world, and especially in this kingdom. Were 
they resident here they would need no assurance of mine to convince them' that 
the views of his Majesty's Government on the subject of Negro Slavery are in har- 
mony with those of Parliament and the nation at large, and that, during|a dis- 
cussion of nine years' continuance, men of all ranks have been progressively 
acquiring a more uniform and firm conviction of the soundness of those views. 
It were a fatal mistake to suppose that the voice of the country at large on this 
subject is nothing more than the transient clamour of a small but importunate 
party ; yet it is an error into which, at such a distance, the local Legislature may 
not improbably fall. 

" To claims unjust and unreasonable in themselves it is doubtless the duty of 
Government to oppose a stedfast resistance. Even the most moderate and rea- 
sonable demands, when enforced by open violence and insurrection, must be re- 
sisted, until the dominion of the law has been vindicated and established ; but, 
that indispensable duty being performed, it remains that what is reasonably de- 
manded should be conceded with frankness. The present calamity might prove 
to be but the precursor of disasters still more lamentable, should it fail to convince 
the local Legislature that the time for concession has fully come, and that the 
opportunity of conceding with dignity and safety may, ere long, be irretrievably 
lost. Under the influence of erroneous opinions, and of a passing excitement, 
the slaves may have indeed advanced claims which it is impossible to admit ; 
but neither the extravagance with which some hopes may have been indulged, 
nor the violence with which some designs may have been expressed, can afford 
any just answer to the more sober and moderate claims which are made on their 
behalf, and to which, with the aid of better information, they will probably reduce 
their demands. 

" His Majesty, therefore, cannot revoke the instructions which your Lordship 
will have already received on the subject of Negro Slavery. If, however, the 
events which have formed the subject of this despatch should have compelled 
you to suspend the execution of the orders you have received, you have his per- 
mission to continue that suspension until the restoration of general tranquillity ; 
but you will take the earliest occasion, after internal peace shall have been 
re-established, for again directing the attention of the Council and the Assembly 
to the subject." 

We need hardly say that the despatch of Lord Goderich throws utter 
discredit on the unfounded suspicions of a participation, on the part of 
the missionaries, in any measure for aiding or fomenting this disturbance.. 

London: Printed by S. Bagbter, Jun., 14, Bartholomew CJose. 


No. 100.] 

SEPTEMBER 1, 1832. 

[Vol. V. No. IL 

A Detailed View of the progress of Population among the Slaves 


institution of the system OF Registration ; avith Observations 


The following view of the progress of population among the Slaves in the 
•Colonies of Great Britain was drawn up by Mr, Buxton, from official docu- 
ments laid before the House of Commons. These consist either of Parlia- 
mentary Papers moved for by the House and printed by its order, and of which 
the year, and the numbers as they stand on the documents of that year, are 
given ;— or of Papers presented to both houses of Parliament by the Com- 
mand of His Majesty, and which have no numbers attached to them. The 
former are distinguished by the letters P. P. ; the latter by the letters P. C. 

Notwithstanding the pains which have been taken to attain perfect accuracy, 
by closely following the official statements throughout, yet it is possible that 
some errors may have crept in, as the statements themselves are occasionally 
defective, and in some instances discrepant. In those cases, however, the 
conclusion the least unfavourable to the Colonists has been invariably adopted, 
and the utmost care has thus been taken to avoid all exaggeration in exhibit- 
ing the evils of the Slave system. 


1817. Dec, 31. Population {a) , . 32,269 
Imports in 11 years (6) 112 


1828. Dec. 31. Population (c) , . . '29,83© 
Manumissions in 11 years (d) 1,561 
Exports in 11 years (e) . . 113 

Decrease in 11 years 



a. See P. P., No. 424 of 1824 . . . 

b. Ditto, No. 89 of 1823; for imports 

from 1818 to 1821 ...'.. 
Average of the preceding four years, 

taken for 1822, 1823, and 1824 . 
Subsequently, Nil 

Imports in 11 years 

c. See P. P., No. 237 of 1829, and 

No. 674 of 1830 

d. Ditto, No. 89 of 1823; for Manu- 

missions from 1818 to 1820 . . 

Carried up 




Brought up 433 
See P. P., No. 204 of 1828 ; for ma- 
numissions from 1821 to 1826 . . 953 
Ditto, of July, 1831 ; for 1827 and 

1828 175 

Manumissions in 1 1 years . 1,561 

e See P. P., No. 89 of 1823, for exports 

from 1818 to 1821 65 

Average of the preceding four years, 

taken for 1822 1823, and 1824 . 48 

Subsequently, Nil 

2 L 

Expoits in 11 y-ears 115 


Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 

1817. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . 24,549 
Imports in 10 years (/;) 529 


1827. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 21,319 
Manumissions in 10 years (d) 292 

Exports in 10 years (e) . . 1,845 

Decrease in 10 years 



a. See P.P., No. 424 of 1824 . . . 

h. Ditto, No.89of 1823; for 1819, 1820 

Ditto, No. 353 of 1826; for 1821 to 


Ditto, P. C, of July, 1831, for 1826 
and 1827 

Imports in 10 years 

c. P. P., No. 237 of 1829 . . . . 

d. Ditto,No.89, of 1823. Manumissions 

for 1818, 1819, and 1820 .... 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; from 1 Jan. 

1821 to 1 Nov. 1826 

Carried up 

Brought up 138 
P. C, 1828, p. 191; 1 Nov. 1826 to 

31 March, 1827 56 

Ditto,p.237; lAprilto3Aug, 1827 75 
P. P., No. 335, of 1829; 1 Sept. to 

31 Dec. 1827 23 

Manumissions in 10 years . 292 

P. P., No. 89, of 1823, for 1818, 

1819, and 1820 1004 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826. for 1821, 

1822, 1823, 1824, and 1825 . . 810 

Ditto,P.C.ofJuly 1831; for 1826,1827 20 

Exports in 10 years 1834 


1817. May 31. Population (a) . . 77,867 

Imports in 12 year's {b) 5,508 


1829. May31. Population (c) . , . 69,467 
Manumissions in 12 yrs. (d) 1,640 
Exports in 12 years (e) . 231 

Decrease in 12 years 12,037 


a. See P.P., No. 424, of 1824. . . 

b. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823, p.73. Imports, 

1 Jan. 1817, to 30 Sept. 1821 
Ditto,No.353,ofl826,p.l63. lOct., 
1821, to 31 Dec, 1824 .... 
. Subsequently, Nil 


Imports in 11 years 5,508 

SeeP.P., No.674, of 1830 . . . 
. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumissions 

from 31 May 1817 to 31 Dec. 1820 
Ditto, No.353, of 1826, p.l66,andNo. 

128,of 1827,p.27, froml Jan.1821 

to 31 May, 1826 , 

P, C, of 1827, p. 144, and 145, from 

1 June, 1826, to 31 Oct. 1826 . . 
Ditto, p. 145; from 1 Nov. 1826, to 

1 May, 1827 

Carried up 



Brought up 916 
1 May, 1827, to 30 April, 1828. No 
returns, but assumed to be at the 
rate of the preceding six months . 354 
P. P.,No.335, ofl829,p. ll.froml 

May, to 31 Oct. 1828 .... 185 
1 Nov. 1828, to 31 May, 1829. No 
returns, but assumed to be at the 
rate of the preceding six months . 185 

Manumissions in 12 years . 1,640 

e. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823. Exports 

for 1817 to 1821 138 

Ditto, No. 53, of 1826,for 1822 to 1824 93 

Exports in 11 years 231 
N.B. Neither imports nor exports are given 
after Dec. 1824. It might be thought to swell 
the amount unfairly to take the average of pre- 
ceding years, for 1825 ; it is therefore omitted. 

Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 


1817. Dec.31. Population (o) . . . 28,029 
Imports in 12 years (&) 223 


1829. Dec.31. Population (c) . . . 24,145 
Manumissions in 12 years (d) 896 

Exports in ditto (e) 698 

Decrease in 12 years 



a. SeeP.P., No.424,of 1824 . . . 

b. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Imports from 

1 Jan. 1818 to 31 Dec. 1820 . . 
Ditto, 353, of 1826 : 1 Jan. 1821 to 

Aug. 1824 

Subsequently, Nil 

Imports in 12 years . . 

c. SeeP.P., No. 305, of 1831 . . . 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumis- 

sions from 1 Jan. 1818 to Dec. 31, 






Brought up 294 
Ditto, No. 353, of 1826, p. 356.1 Jan, 

1821 to Dec. 31, 1825 .... 321 
Ditto, of July, 1831. from 1 Jan. 

1826 to Dec. 31, 1829 .... 281 

Manumissions in 12 years 896 

e. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Exports for 

1818 to 1820 204 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; for 1821 to 

1824 494 

Subsequently, Nil 

Exports in 12 years 698 


1817. Dec.31. Population (a) . . .346,150 
Imports in 12 years (6) 1,080 


1829. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . 322,421 
Manumissions in 12 years (d) 6,030 
Exports in 12 years (e) . . 705 

Decrease in 12 years 



a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824 . . . 

6. Ditto, No. 347, of 1823, andNo.353, 
of 1826. Imports from 1 Jan. 1818 

to Dec. 31, 1825 1167 

Ditto, of July 1831; from 1 Jan. 1826 

to 31 Dec. 1829 13 

Imports in 12 years 1080 

e. See P. P., No. 305 of 1831 . . . 

i. Ditto, No. 302, of 1832; Manumis- 
sions from 1 Jan. 1818 to June, 

1824 3522 

P. P., No. 302, of 1831; from June 

to Dec. 1824 223 

Carried up 3745 

Brought up 3745 
Ditto, No. 365 of 1832; for from 1825 

to 1829 . 2285- 

Manumissions in 12 years 6030 

e. P. P., No. 347, of 1823. Exports for 

1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, and 1822 497 

P. P., of July 1831; for 1825, 1826, 

1827, 1828, and 1829 .... 10 

There are no returns for 1823 and 
1824, but, assuming the average of 
the five preceding years that are 
given, it will make 198 

Exports in 12 year* 705 


Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies^ 

1817. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . . 6,610 
Imports in 11 years (ft) 12 


1828. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 6,262 
Manumissions in 11 years (rf) 135 
Exports in 11 years (e) . . 94 

Decrease in 11 years . 



a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824 . . 

5. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Imports from 

Dec. 1817 to Dec. 1821 . . . 

Ditto, No. 204, of 1828 ; for 1823 

and 1824 

Imports in 11 years. . . 

e: See P. P., No. 674, of 1830: . . 
d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumis 

sions for 1818, 1819, and 1820 
Ditto, No. 128, of 1827 ; from June 

1821 to June 1826 .... 

Carried up 





Brought up 105 

There being no returns from June, 
1826, to Dec. 1828, the average 
of the five preceding years is 
assumed 30 

Manumissions in 11 years 135 

e. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823. 
Exports from June 1818 to Dec. 

1820 69 

Ditto, No. 204, of 1828 ; from Jan, 

1821 to Dec. 1824 25 

Exports in 11 years 94 


:I817. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . 9,602 
Imports in 11 year (ft) 79 


1828. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 9,259' 
Manumissionsinllyrs. (d) 146 
Exports in ditto (e) . . 84 

Decrease in 11 years 



a.. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824 . . . 

b. Ditto of July 1831. Imports from Jan. 

1825, to Dec. 1828 ..... 79 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830 . . . 

Brought up 99 

P. P., of July 1831 ; for ditto, from 

Nov. 30, 1825, to 31 Dec. 1828 . 47 

Imports in 11 years 


d.: Assumed average of Manumissions 

from Jan. 1818 to Dec. 1820 . . 42 
J". P., No.353, of 1826 ; for ditto, from 

1 Jan.. 1821 to Nov. 30, 1825 . . 57 

Manumissions in 11 years 146 

e See P. P., No. 353, of 1826. Exports 

from 1 Jan. 1821, to 31 Dec. 1825 64 
Papers of July, 1831, from 1 Jan. 

1826 to 31 Dec. 1828 .... 20 

Carried up 


Exports in 11 j'^ears 84 

Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 



1817. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . 20,168 
• Imports in 10 years (6) 74 


1827. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . 19,310* 
Manumissions in lOyrs.(d) 629 
Exports in ditto (e) . . 203 

Decrease in 10 years 



a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824. 

b. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823, and No. 353, 

of 1826. Imports from 31 Dec. 1817 

to 1 October 1825 

Ditto, of July, 1831 ; for from 1 Oct. 
1825 to 31 Dec. 1828 



Imports in 10 years 74 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumissions 

for 1818, 1819, and 1820 ... 190 
Ditto, No. 128, of 1827, for 1822, 

1823, 1824, and 1825 .... 264 

Carried up 454 

Brought up 
Per. Mr. Amyott's Letter, of Dec. 
31, 1831— for 1826 and 1827 . 

e. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823. Exports 

for 1818 to 1821 

Ditto,No.353, of 1826 ; for 1823,1824 

Ditto, of July 1831 ; for 1825, 1826, 

and 1827 . 



Manumissions in 10 yrs. 629 



Exports in 10 years 203 

In P. P., No. 582, of 1830, the Re- 
gistrar reports the Population of 1827 
at 18,119, being 1,191 less. 


1815. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . .16,285 
Imports in 13 years (&). 188 


1828. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 13,661 
Manumissions in 13 yrs. (d) 844 
Exports ditto (e) . . . . 26 

Decrease in 13 years 




a. SeeP. P., No. 424, of 1824. 

h. The Imports for the years 1816 to 

1821 are taken at the average of the 

four succeeding years .... 

P. P., No. 204, of 1828, Imports 

from Jan. 1, 1821, to Jan. 18 1825 

Imports in 13 years 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830. 

d. Ditto, No. 204, of 1828. Manumis- 

sions from Jan. 1 , 1816, to May 31, 





Carried up 762 

Brought up 762 
Ditto, No. 262, of 1831. from June 1, 

to Dec. 31, 1828 60 

Ditto, No. 335, of 1829, p. 37. free 

baptisms in preceding years . , 22 

Manumissions in 13 years 844- 

e. P. P.,No.204ofl828; Exports Dec. 

31, 1815, to Dec. 31, 1828. . , 26 
Subsequently, Nil. 

Exports in 13 years 26 


Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 

1817. Dec. 31. Population (n) 
Imports (ft) . 



1827. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 23,589 
ManumissionsinlOyi'S.(<i) 540 
Exports in 10 years (e) . 779 

Decrease in 10 years 



a. See P. P., No. 424.. of 1824. 

h. P.P., No. 353, of 1826; from iJan. 

1821 to 31 Dec. 1824 .... 
Average of the above four years; for 

Imports for 1818 to 1821 . , . 
Subsequently, Nil 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumis- 

sions for 1818, 1819, and 1820 , 


Imports in lO years 918 


Carried up 68 

Brought up 68 
Ditto, No. 353, of 1826. from iJ an. 

1821 to 31 Dec. 1825 .... 380 
Ditto, of July 1831. from iJan. 1826 

to 31 Dec. 1827 92 

Manumissions in 10 years 540 

There is no return of the Exports for 
1818, 1819, and 1820, but the aver- 
age of the following years is taken 

P. P., No. 353, of 1826 ; from 1 Jan. 
1821 to 1 Jan. 1825 

Subsequently, Nil 



Exports in 10 years 779 


1819. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . . 15,470 
Imports in 10 years {h) 230 


1829. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . . 12,556 
Manumissions in 10 yrs.(d) 268 
Exports in ditto (e) . . . 73 

Decrease in 10 years 2,803 


a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824. 

b. There being no return of Imports for 

1820 the average of the five sub- 
sequent years is assumed . . . 

P. P., No. 353, of 1826 ; Imports 
from Jan. 1821 to Nov. 10, 1825 . 

P. P., of 1831 ; from Nov. 1825 to 
Dec. 1829 

Imports in 10 years . . . 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823, Manumis- 

sions for 1820 



Carried up 4 

Brought up 
Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; for 1821 

to 1825 

Ditto, of July 1831 ; for 1826 to 1829 

Exports in 10 3'ears 


Manumissions in 10 years 268 

e. There being no return of Exports for 
1820 the average of the five subse- 
quent years is taken 5 

See P. P., No. 353, of 1826. Exports 

from Jan. 1821 to Nov. 1825 . . 22 
P. P., of July 1831 ; from Nov. 1825 
to Dec. 1829 



Progress of Population in the Sugar ■Colonies. 


5818. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . . 6,899 
Imports in 10 years, Nil (fo) 


1828. Dec. 31. Population (c) ... 5,399 
Manumissions in 10 yrs.((i) 216 
Exports in ditto (e) . . 1,141 

Decrease in 10 years 143 


a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824. 
h. Ditto, presented July 15, 1831. 

c. Ditto, No. 305, of 1831. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumissions 

for 1819, 1820, 1821, and 1822 . 
Ditto, No. 128, of 1827; for 1823, 

1824, and 1825 

Ditto, papers of July 15, 1831 ; for 
r. 1826, 1827, and 1828 . . . . 




Manumissions in 10 jf-ears 216 

e. See P.P., No. 89, of 1823; for ex- 
ports of 1819 3 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; for 1820 to 

1824 1,128 

Ditto, Papers of July 1831 ; for 1825 

to 1828 10 

Exports in 10 years 1,141 

1815. 31. Jan. Population (a) 

Imports in 13 years (6) 6,466 


25,544 1828. Jan. 31. Population (c) 


. 24,006 
Manumissions in 13 yrs. (d) 1,716 
Exports in ditto (e) . . 120 

Decrease in 13 years 



a. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824 

6. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Imports from 

31 Jan. 1815, to 31 Dec. 1821 . 3,470 
Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; for from 

1 Jan. 1822, to 31 Dec. 1825 . 2,503 
Ditto of July 1831 ; for from 1 Jan. 

1826, to 31 Jan. 1828 .... 493 

Imports in 13 years 6,466 

c. See P. P., No. 305, of 1831. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumis- 

sions for from 1815 to 1820 . . 751 
Do., No. 128, of 1827 ; for 1821 to 1825 631 

Carried up 1,382 

Brought up 1,382 
See P. P., of July 1831 ; for 1826 and 

1827 334 

Manumissions in 13 years 1 ,716 

e. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823. Exports 

from 1815 to 1822 112 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826 ; for 1823, 
1824, and 1825, Nil 

Ditto, of July 1831; for 1826, 1827, 

and 1828 8 

Exports in 13 years 120 


Prof/ress of Population in the Sugar Colonic;. 

1815. Dec. 31. Population (a) 
Imports (/)) 

87,352 ' 1826. Oct. 16. Population (c) . . 76,774* 
1,890 Manumissions (d) . . 977 

Exports (e) . . . . 724 


Decrease in 10| years 10,767 


a. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823, p. 129. 

b. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823, page 123, 

Imports for 1818, 1819, and 1820 243 
Ditto, No. 204, of 1828; for from 1st 

Jan. 1821, to 10th April 1826 . . 1,647 

Imports in lOf years 1,890 

c. See P. P., No. 237, of 1829 . . . 

d. See P. C, 1828, page 367. Manu- 

missions from 1 Jan. 1816, to 31 

Dec. 1826, being for 11 years . . 977 

e. See P. P., No. 89, of 1823, page 124 

Exportsforl818, 1819,1820,1821, 

and 1822 . 418 

Ditto, No. 204, of 1828 ; for 1823, 
1824, 1825, and 1826 306 

Exports in lOf years 724 

* On examiningthe P. P., No. 333, of 30 
March, 1832, it appears that there must be 
some mistake in the above return of Oct. 16, 
1826, the final number registered for the Mau- 
ritius being 69,472 (see p. 79), and for its 
dependencies 6,522 (p. 33), making together 
only 75,994, instead of 76,774, being a farther 
diminution of 780, or of 11,547 in all. By a 
further return, dated 2nd Jan. 1830, the popu- 
lation appears to have much diminished dur- 
ing the three years preceding, the numbers 
in the Mauritius by that return being stated 
to be 66,183, instead of 69,472 in Oct. 1826, 
showing a decrease in that time of 3,289 (in- 
cluding about 1150 manumissions) ; and this 
independently of the large illicit importations 
said to have taken place since 1815. 

1817. Dec. 31. Population (a) . . 
Imports in 9 years (6) 

Increase in 9 years 






Dec. 31. Population (c) 
Manumissions in 9 years (d) 
Exports in 9 years («j) . . 





a. See P. P., No. 424, 1824 .... 

b. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Imports for 

1818 to 1821 

Subsequently, Nil 

Imports for 9 years . . . 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830. 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. and No. 853, 

of 1826. Manumissions from 1 

Jan. 1818, to 31 Dec. 1825 . . 

Ditto, ot July 1831 ; from 1 Jan. to 

31 Dec. 1826 

Manumissions in 9 years 




See P. P., No. 89, of 1823. Exports 
from 1 Jan. 1818, to 31 Dec. 1820 . 1,656 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826. from 1 Jan. 

1821, to April 1823 296 

There is no return from April 1823, 
to Dec. 1824 ; but the average of 
the preceding 2^ years is taken . 230 

Subsequently, Nil 

Exports in 9 years 2,182 

Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 


1817". Dec. 31. Population (a) . . . 77,493 
Imports in 12 years (6) 91 

Increase in 12 years 



1829. Dec. 31. Population (c) . . .81,902 
Manumissions in 12 years (d) . 1,400 
Exports in 12 years (e) . . ^ 248 


o. See P. P., No. 424, of 1824 . . . 
6. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Imports for 

1818 to 1820 53 

Ditto, No. 353, of 1826; for 1821 

to 1825 25 

. Ditto, of July 1831 ; from Jan. 1826 

to Dec. 1829 13 

Imports for 12 years . . 91 

c. See P. P., No. 674, of 1830 . . . 

d. Ditto, No. 89, of 1823. Manumissions 

for 1818 to 1820 412 

Ditto, No. 128, of 1827; for 1821 to 

1825 _ 421 

Carried up 833 

Brought up 833 
See P. P., of July 1831 ; for 1826 

to 1829 567 

Manumissions in 12 years . 1,400 

e. See P. P., No. 353, of 1826. Exports 

for 1821 to 1824 164 

Ditto, of July 1831 ; for 1825 to 

1829 .. ^ ...... . 84 

Exports in 12 years . 





Decrease ir 

1 11 years 




10 ditto 

. 1,633 



12 ditto 


Grenada . 


12 ditto 

. 2,515 



12 ditto . 




11 ditto 

. 131 

Nevis . 


11 ditto 


St. Christopher's . 


10 ditto 

. 100 

St. Lucia 


13 ditto 


St. Vincent's 


10 ditto 

. 1,228 



10 ditto 


Tortola . 


10 ditto 

. 143 



13 ditto 


Decrease in the above 13 Colonies, the average being 11,'3 years 47,834 
Mauritius . . Decrease in lOf years . . 10,767 

Deduct. Increase in the two following Colonies, viz. — 

Dominica . . in 9 years . . 11 

Barbadoes . . in 12 years . . 5,966 



Total decrease in the Slave Population in the Sugar Colonies, gg ma 
on nn average of eleven years . . . . ' 


Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 

We have already informed our readers at the beginning of this article that, in 
drawing up the preceding statements, where there has been a difference in the official 
returns, those have been taken which show the smallest decrease in the Slave Population. 
For example : — There is a difference between the return from the Registrar's Office abroad, 
and the return from the Office in England, of the Population of Demerara. The Colonial 
return states the Population, in 1817, to have been 79,197 (see P. P., No. 89 of 1823, p. 
101) : the return from the Office at home states it, at the same date, to be 77,867 (see P. P., 
No. 424 of 1824). The latter return has been taken : the former would have shown a further 
decrease, inaddition to the 12,037, of 1,380, and made the whole decrease in twelve years 13,417. 

So of St. Christopher's : the Slave Population of that island, according to the returns from 
the Colony, was, on the 31st Dec. 1827, 18,119 (see P. P., No. 582 of 1830) ; whilst the re- 
turn from the Office at home states it to have been 19,310 (see P. P., No. 674 of 1830), 
Here the latter number has been taken. Had the fonner been taken, an addition would have 
been made to the decrease, as shown in the above tables, of 1,191. 

The Manumissions in Jamaica, according to the P. P., No. 302 of 1831, were, from June 
1826, to Dec, 1829, 5l5. In the P. P., No. 365 of 1832, they are stated to have been 2,285, 
which is the number assumed in the above statement (p. 251). Had the former number been 
adopted, the large decrease already shown to have taken place in this island of 18,074, would 
have had an addition of 1,770, making in all 19,844. 

In respect to the returns from the Mauritius, see a note above, p. 256, 

Retwn of the Slave Population, showing the respective numbers of the Males and Females, 
in the following Colonies, in the years as stated below, viz. 





Antigua (See P.P., No. 424 of 1124) 





Barbadoes ... ... 





Berbice ... ... 





Demerara ... ... 





Dominica ... ... 





Grenada ... ... 





Jamaica .... ... 





Montserrat ... ... 





Nevis ... ... 




9,602 • 

St. Christopher's ... ... 





St. Lucia ... ... 





St. Vincent's ... ... 





Tobago ... ... 





Trinidad ... ... 










Totals. West India Sugar Colonies 




Mauritius (See P. P., No. 89 of 1823) 

Total slaves in the Sugar Colonies, in or about 1817 








The remaining Slaves in the British Colonies, about 

the same period, were the following, viz : — 

Bahamas (P. P. No, 424 of 1824) 





Bermuda (ditto ditto) 





Cape of Good Hope (ditto No 512 of 1829) 





Honduras* (ditto No. 439 of 1824) 

Total Slaves in the British Colonies, in or about 1817 







* The number of males and females has not been 
given officially. We assume the above proportions. 


Progress of Population in the Sugar Colonies. 
The following are the Latest Returns from all the Colonies. 



Antigua . 


Berbice . 



Grenada . 

Jamaica . 



St. Christopher's 

St. Lucia . 

St. Vincents 


Trinidad . 

Tortola . . 

Total in 


See Parliamentary Papers.' Years. 

No. 674, 




No. 305, 

No. 674, 




No. 305, 



of 1830. 

of do. 

of do. 

of do. 

of do. 

of 1831. 

of do. 

of 1830. 

of do. 

of do. 

of do. 

of do. 

of 1831. 

of do. 

of do. 

W. India Sugar Colonies 
No. 674, of 1830. 

Total in all the Sugar Colonies 
Bahamas . . No. 305, of 1831. 

Bermuda . . No. 674, of 1830. 

Cape of Good Hope . No. 400, of 1826. 
Honduras . .1 No. 582, of 1830. 

Total Slaves in British Colonies by the latest returns 
* The exports from this Colony, and also from 
Bermuda, have been larger than those given in the 
official returns, but how much is not known. 












































































May 1st, 1832. 


The West Indians have attempted to explain the above large de^ 
crease of the slave population in the British Sugar Colonies on prin- 
ciples which they think may save their system from a share of its. 
opprobrium. To these explanations the following reply may be 
made : — 

1st. — It is alleged that that decrease depends on the number of 
imported Africans still existing in those Colonies. They argue that 
the Africans are not prolific ; — that they constantly decrease^ while the 
Creoles increase; — and that we may anticipate that when all the 
Africans shall have died off, and the whole of the slaves shall be 
Creoles, we shall have an increasing, and not a decreasing population. 

This argument was produced first by the Registrar of Demerara, 
in a detailed account which he published of the five triennial registra- 
tions which had taken place in that colony. It appears also in the evi- 
dence of the recent Committee on West India distress, p. 96. It was 
countenanced by Colonel Young, the Protector of slaves in the same 

260 Observations on the progress of the Slave Population. 

colony, in his report, dated 19th of May, 1829. And, lastly, it has 
been urged at length by Mr. Barclay in Jamaica, and supported by 
some statistical accounts, which have been laid by him on the table 
of the Jamaica House of Assembly. 

The Registrar of Demerara rested his proof on the following com- 
parative statement of the numbers of Africans and Creoles, by which 
he makes it to appear that the former had been decreasing and the 
latter increasing : — 

There were by the registry of ■ 

31st May, 1817 Africans 42,224 Creoles 34,939 

31st May, 1820 39,129 38,247 

31st May, 1823 34,772 • 40,205 

31st May, 1826 30,490 40,892 

31st May, 1829 26,691 42,677 

Now this argument seems to be addressed to those who do not 
know the meaning of the terms employed. Those are called Africans 
who were imported from Africa before the year 1808. Creoles are 
those born in the West Indies. It follows that all new-born child- 
ren, whether they are the progeny of Africans or of Creoles, are 
called Creoles. Thus half of those that die are Africans ; but all 
those that are born are Creoles. 

Of course, the Africans must decrease ; for they must lose some by 
death, and cannot be, in any degree, replenished by births. It is 
equally certain that the Creoles must increase, since the loss by death 
is supplied not only by their own offspring, but by that of the Afri- 
cans also. If we examine further the real proportions of deaths 
among Africans and Creoles in Demerara, we shall find that by the 
registry of 1820 there were 39,129 Africans. In the registry of 1829^ 
they were reduced to 26,^691 ; consequently there had died in the 
interim 12,438, excepting that some few of these may have been manu- 

Of Creoles there were in 1820 .... 38,247 

Add the births between 1820 and 1829, reported at . 13,685. 

And slaves imported from the Bahamas, Dominica, and 

Berbice, probably almost all Creoles . . . 2,219 

And there would have been in 1829 if none had died . 54,151 

But as there were only . ■ . . . . 42,677 

There must have died between 1820 and 1829 . . 11,474 

This however may include a few manumissions. 

Thus we see that the Africans have lost by death scarcely more in 
proportion than the Creoles. 

The proportion of births from the two classes cannot be known 
from these accounts, as they are not distinguished. 

Mr. Barclay has sought to supply this deficiency; he has laid on 
the table of the Jamaica House of Assembly a return of the births and 
deaths of slaves on certain properties in St. Thomas in the East, dis- 
tinguishing the progeny of Africans from that of Creoles (see Chris- 
tian Record for February, 1832, p. 49). This account extends over 

Observations on the progress of the Slave Population. 261 

the period of from 1817 to 1829. It appears by it that there were 
on the estates in question, at the commencement of the above period, 
954 Africans and 2,349 Creoles ; that the births from African mothers 
were 138, or 10 in every 69 Africans, and the deaths of Africans 395, 
or 10 in every 24 — while the births from Creole mothers were 932, or 
10 in every 25 Creoles, and the deaths of Creoles 825, or 10 in 28f , 

Mr. Barclay has been charged with not having selected the estates 
fairly ; but, be that as it may, it is evident that such an account proves 
nothing, inasmuch as neither sexes nor ages are distinguished. For 
instance, it is said that only 138 children were born of African mothers 
in these 12 years; but, as the number of African women is not given, 
we have no means of ascertaining whether, as a class, they are or are 
not fruitful. We know generally that, in slaves imported from Africa, 
the males greatly predominated ; but whether in these particular 
estates the females form one-third, or one-fourth, or one-fifth of the 
whole of the Africans, we have no means of ascertaining. Again, by 
this account, the deaths among the Africans proportionably exceed 
those among the Creoles ; but, as the ages are not given, we cannot 
tell whether this excess is more than can be fully accounted for by 
the more advanced ages of the Africans. We have much reason to 
suspect this, as we find by another table, drav/n up at the same time 
by Mr. Barclay, that, of those that died, the average age, at the time 
of death, was 53 1-5 years for the Africans, and only 26,-8 years for the 
Creoles. On the whole there is no evidence that the remaining 
Africans will account for the loss of life, or that the population will 
be under more favourable circumstances when the whole of it is Creole. 

2ndly, — It is alleged that the mortality is occasioned by the large 
population of old slaves. This assertion has chiefly been applied to 
Demerara, and the fact has been attributed to the large importations 
which have taken place at different times. It has been supposed that 
the consequence would be that an undue proportion would be of ad- 
vanced age, and therefore unfit for procreation ; and that consequently 
the births could not bear a due proportion to the numerical amount of 
the population. It is imagined that this presumed disparity will be 
corrected by natural causes, and that, as soon as the different ages 
bear their clue proportion, the numbers will cease to diminish. Now 
let this hypothesis be tried by the fact — let the period of child-bearing 
in Demerara be taken at from 10 to 40, and let the whole population 
be divided according to the ages. The numbers will be found to stand 
thus : — * 


Under 10 17,226 

From 10 to 40 . . 49,122 
Above 40 10,815 

















77,163 77,376 74,977 71,382 69,368 

* These numbers are given in the summary which has been alluded to, and signed 
" James Robertson, Registrar." The totals accord with the regular Parliamen- 
tary returns in the intermediate years, but not in 1817 and 1829. In the former 
year the number, by the paper No. 424 of 1824, is 77,867 ; in the latter ytar, by 
No. 674 of 1830,-69,467. 

262 Observations o?t the progress of the Slave Population. 

The proportion, however, of the different ages, will be more 
clearly seen if the numbers in the above table are reduced to the pro- 
portion which they severally^ bear to 1000. Of every 1000 slaves 
there are then : — 

By the Registry of 






Under 10 . . . 






From 10 to 40 . 




532 • 


Above 40 . . . 






1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 

Now, from this table, in the first place, it is evident that, if old 
lives have been really in excess, the operation of natural causes, so far 
from correcting the disparity, seems only to increase it. In 1817 the 
lives above 40 were in the proportion of 140 in the 1000, or about ^. 
In 1829, they had increased to 335, or about \ of the whole. So that, 
if the loss of life depends on this cause, we must anticipate that it 
will be progressively augmenting. But, in truth, there is no such dis- 
parity, as may be seen by a comparison with England. 

By the Chester tables, there are in England, out of every 1000 

Under 10 ... 211 
From 10 to 40 . . 464 
Above 40 ... 325 


It will be seen that in four out of the five enumerations, the proportion 
of old people in Demerara has been greatly below the proportion in 
England, and that, in the last enumeration, it has scarcely surpassed 
it; and this has been not at the expense of the marriageable ages,. but 
of the children. On the other hand, it will be seen that the number 
of marriageable ages, which at first greatly exceeded, has been 
gradually decreasing, but that it has not yet fallen to the level of this 
country. Such a proportion cannot therefore be inconsistent with an 
increasing population. 

But it may be said, that the age of child-bearing extends to a later 
period in England than in Demerara, so that the existence of 325 indi- 
viduals above the age of 40 in every 1 000 may consist with an increasing 
population in the former country, but not in the latter. This is true. 
In England this age both commences and terminates later. Let it be 
taken at from 15 to 45, and let us enquire what proportion of the po- 
pulation of England is between these ages. 

By the Chester tables, this number is found to be 436 in every 
1000 — but it is a number still more below the proportion of mar- 
riageable individuals, which in every census has been found to exist 
in Demerara. 

The deficiency in Demerara, therefore, is not in the middle ages of 
lifCj but in the children. 

Coneluding Remarks. 


Before we conclude this article we tiiink it may be of use to extract a com- 
bined view of the Slave population in the Sugar Colonies of Great Britain as it 
stood in or about the year 1829; showing also the previous rates of decrease or increase 
according to the preceding tables ; together with the quantity of Sugar imported, in the 
same year, from each of those colonies, into Great Britain and Ireland, and the proportion 
which that quantity bears to the number of Slaves then existing in each. 

— TZ i — ^"I — 

CO ^ « -^ . 



s g 


511 fc. ■■" I, ■-( 

.5 SJ 

"S— 3 

« >^> 




" glO 

Name of the Colony. 


I -3 

rt >■ 



.2 3 a, a 



S a n 

£ S J 

QJ ^ 


tn.S !» 



3^ SS'C B 

Antigua , 












Berbice . 






In 1831, the impottations from 
Berbice were 128,088 cwt. 

Demerara . 






or 6 cwt. per slave. 

Dominica . ^ 






Grenada . 






Jamaica . 






; Montserrat 












St. Christopher. 






In 1831 the importations hence 
were 101,968 cwt., or live cwt. 
and a quarter per slave. ^ 

St. Lucia . 






St. Vincent 






In 1831 the importations hence 
were 221,652 cwt., or nine 
cwt. & three-fifths per slave. 







In 1831 the importations hence 
were 121,249 cwt.,or nine cwt. 
and two-thirds per slave. 

Tortola . 






Trinidad . 






The decrease in Trinidad is 
probably less than the reali- 
ty in consequence of illicit , 

West Indies 







The returns from the Mauri- 
tius beyond the Registry of 
population are not to be 
depended on. 

Total Slaves in 

sugar Colonies 


A careful inspection of the above table will serve to show the very disastrous influence 
which the cultivation of sugar, as that urocess is now conducted in the colonies of Great 
Britaiiijhas on the Irealthandlifeof the slave. Withoutpretending to measure, by any nice'scale, 
the proportion between the waste of human life and the quantity of sugar exacted from the 
slave, it is nevertheless impossible to disregard the general results which this table exhibits. __ 
Can we compare, for example, the enormous sugar growth, per slave, of Demerara and 
Trinidad, accompanied as it is by the rapid consumption of Negro life, with the case 
of the Bahamas, where no sugar is grown, but where the slaves increase rapidly; or of 
Barbadoes and Dominica, where little sugar is grown and the slaves begin to increase ; 
and not be compelled to admit the murderous tendency of the present system of sugar 
planting ? We admit that this tendency may be and is modified by the peculiar circum- 
stances of different colonies ; but still that such is the tendency cannot be questioned. On 
this point, however, we will not now enlarge, as our room will barely suffice for a remark 
or two which we have made before, but which we wish again to introduce to the notice of 
the public in connexion with the .subject before us. 

264 Concludiny Remarks. 

The slave trade ceased in the United States of America, and in the British 
West Indies, in the very same year, namely, 1808. The relative proportion of 
imported Africans, on which the West Indians lay so much stress as accounting 
for the decrease of their slaves notvrithstanding the boasted lenity of their treat- 
ment, must therefore have been nearly the same in the two cases. But have the 
results been the same ? 

In one of our latenumbers (No. 97, p. 102) we have shown that, in 1808, the 
slave population of the United States must have amounted to about 1,130,000, 
and that of the British West Indies to about 800,000. 

In 1830, after an interval of 22 years, the slaves of the United States amount- 
ed, by actual census, to 2,010,436; being an increase of 880,436, or about 80 
per cent, in that time. 

It appears, from the preceding tables, that, in or about the year 1829, the slaves 
in all the British West Indies did not exceed 696,441 ;* and in 1830, therefore, 
could not have exceeded 695,000, being a decrease of at least 105,000 slaves in 
the same period of 22 years. 

Now, had the British slaves increased, during that time, at the same rate with 
the American slaves, their number, in 1830, instead of being only 695,000, would 
have been 1,423,317, making the enormous decrease, as compared with the pro- 
gress of population in the United States, of 728,317, a waste of life exceeding by 
nearly 5 per cent, the number of the existing population. 

A similar result would be produced by a comparison of the progress of popu- 
lation among the slaves, with that of the free black and coloured classes, inhabit- 
ing the same colonies. Had they even increased at the rate of the Maroons in 
Jamaica, the least favourably circumstanced of those classes, the 695,000 slaves 
of the West Indies would have grown, in 1830, to 1,240,000, or if at the rate 
of the free classes in Trinidad, to 1,500,000. 

These facts constitute a charge against Colonial Slavery which no sophistly 
can elude. After every deduction which the most elaborate ingenuity can suggest, 
it will remain under the stigma of being one of the heaviest curses which afflicts 
humanity, and this independently of the unnumbered political, moral, and 
spiritual evils which directly flow from it. And yet here are we, with our Go- 
vernment, and one Parliament, in this land of Christian light and liberty, coolly 
deliberating whether this curse, inflicted by ourselves on our fellow-subjects, 
shall be at once removed, or shall be permitted for months or years longer to 
oppress and desolate one of the fairest portions of the creation of God ! How 
long shall we continue to endure this depressing load of conscious guilt ? Let 
the Electors of the United Kingdom see to it I They are now on their trial at 
the bar of the Most High ! 

* In the passage in No. 97, p. 202, referred to above, the number is by mis- 
take stated to be 678,527, being in fact only the number in the Sugar Colonies. 
But to these ought to have been added the slaves of the Bahamas, Bermuda, and 
Hondui-as, together 17,904, making the whole, as in the text, 696,441. 

London: Printed by Samuel Bagster, Jun., 14, BaiHholoraew Close. 



No. 101.] OCTOBER 1, 1832. [Vol. v. No. 12. 


1832 ; 1. Misstatements of Mr. Alecs. Barclay ; 2. Free Labour Svgar in 

Jamaica ; 3. Instruction of Slaves ; 4. Kirk of Scotland in Jamaica ; 

5. Parochial Schools in Jamaica. 



I. — The Christian Record of Jamaica, No. 3, ok Mauch, 1832. 

The third number of the new series of the Christian Record of 
Jamaica has recently arrived in this country. It bears the date of 
March, 1832, and is perliaps one of the most important publications 
which have been issued under that title. It is distinguished by its 
fidelity and boldness. We feel that we cannot render a more essential 
service to the cause of humanity and truth than by largely analysing 
its contents. Let it be kept in mind that this work is published in 
Jamaica, is addressed to the community of that Island, and challenges 
contradiction on the spot. 

I. Misstatements of Mr. Alex. Barclay. 

We have often had occasion to animadvert on the remarkable dis- 
regard of truth evinced by this pro-slavery writer. We have already 
exposed many of his deliberate misstatements, and have dared him to 
their vindication. The Christian Record, however, has means far su- 
perior to ours of detecting those artfully-concocted frauds connected 
with local details, which form the substratum of most of that gentle- 
man's hardy assertions, and by which he has obtained so high a repu- 
tation as the advocate of Colonial interests. 

In a letter which he addressed two or three years ago to Sir George 
Murray, then Colonial Secretary, and which was extolled by his party^ 
at the time of its appearance, as a triumphant vindication of the 
Slave system of Jamaica, Mr. Barclay, at p. 18, describes, with much 
dramatic effect, a transaction in which he himself bore a principal 
and personal part. 

About a month before he left Jamaica to visit England, he states 
that an old Negro slave, named Joseph Marriott, belonging to Chis- 
wick Estate, in St. Thomas in the East, the property of Messrs. John 
and Thomas Burton, called upon him one Sunday morning, to say that 
he was desirous of redeeming from slavery his wife Sophy, and her 


266 Misstatements of Mr. Alex. Barclay. 

four children, belonging to an estate called Barking Lodge, the pro- 
perty of a Mr. Ambrose Carter ; and that he hoped Mr. Barclay would 
assist him in the negociation. This Mr. B. undertook to do, the slave 
putting into his hand £200 in gold, and assuring him that he had 
more money to produce, should more be wanted. Mr. Barclay's inter- 
vention succeeded, and he obtained from the Attorney of Barking 
Lodge, Mr. Forsyth, the manumission of Sophy and her four children, 
who were mulattoes, of from 5 to 14 years of age, for the sum of £300 
currency, or about £200 sterling. " Here," says Mr. Barclay, " was 
a wealthy slave purchasing the manumission of a woman with a large 
family, not even of his own caste, for they were mulattoes, who had 
yet no wish to change his oivji condition." That is to say, as Mr. Bar- 
clay wovdd have it understood, he redeemed, with a large sum, drawn 
from his own resources, — from what he had himself earned, these five 
persons, while he was indifferent as to the obtaining of his own freedom. 
This, we admit, is not very intelligible, however creditable the circum- 
stances might be, if it were true, to the lenity of the slave system. 

But what were the real facts of the case which Mr. B. has so trium- 
phantly brought forward, in the hope, doubtless, that its falsehood might 
escape detection ? The facts were these : — Two sisters, Sarah and 
Sophy, were slaves belonging to Barking Lodge Estate. The elder 
sister, Sarah, became the concubine and housekeeper of Mr. M., the 
overseer, and lived with him in that capacity during his stay on the 
estate; and when he quitted it he was led, by his attachment to her, 
first to hire and afterwards to buy her, retaining her still in the same 
close relationship to himself. Through his liberality, and her own 
prudence, Sarah amassed some property, and, having no children of 
her own, she determined to employ it for the benefit of her sister 
Sophy and her children. 

Sophy had been less prosperous than Sarah. She became, indeed, 
the concubine of Mr. G., the overseer who succeeded her sister's 
paramour, Mr. M. After some time, however, Mr. G. was dismissed 
from his office, and was forced to abandon Sophy, after she had borne 
him two or three children. He had not either the means or the in- 
clination to purchase either them or their mother, and they all re- 
mained therefore as slaves on Barking Lodge. After a time, however, 
Sophy became the concubine of the Attorney of the estate, by whom 
she had another child; but she was at length abandoned by him also, 
and left with her children in a state of slavery and without a pro- 
tector. In this state she remained till Joseph Marriott, the slave men- 
tioned above, proposed marriage to her : she accepted his offer, and 
became his wife by Christian wedlock. The narrator expresses a hope 
that she consented to the proposal of this slave under a conviction of 
the sinfulness of her former course of illicit concubinage. 

It was soon after this event that the elder sister, Sarah, taking pity 
on Sophy and her offspring, resolved, principally from her own re- 
sources, but with some aid from a third sister, and perhaps some small 
contribution from Joseph Marriott, though this is uncertain, to redeem 
the whole family ; and it was with the money given to him by Sarah that 
he had waited on Mr. Barclay when the conversation took place which 

Misstatements of Mr. Alex. Barclay. 267 

that gentleman related in his letter to Sir G. Murray with so much point 
and effect. Joseph may have imposed on Mr. B. by alleging that 
the money was his own ; though this is hardly possible, as Mr. Bar- 
clay, from his long residence in the vicinity of both the estates of 
Chiswick and Barking Lodge, must have been tolerably well acquainted 
with the parties and their circumstances. Mr. Barclay, therefore, 
there is every reason to fear, (and the suspicion is strengthened by the 
many instances of glaring untruth which are to be found in his 
writings,) must have been guilty, in this case, of at least suppressing 
many most material facts, in order to aid the effect of his story, and 
to justify the inference he wished to draw from it. " Be that as it may," 
observes the Editor of the Christian Record, " the bargain was con- 
cluded, and Sophy and hei^ children were denizened in the island of 
Jamaica, while Joseph Marriott, and his own, his loved, his only 
daughter" (by a former wife of course) " remained slaves on Chiswick 

But the sequel of Joseph Marriott's story remains to be told, and it 
shall be told in the words of the Editor of the Record : — 

" With his wife and adopted family now assembled around him, the old 
man" (so Mr. Barclay styles him) " pediaps looked forward to the enjoyment 
of comfort in their society during the remaining years of his life ; but his 
prospect of happiness was soon closed. A new overseer came to'lChiswick 
estate, who, upon some cause of complaint against Joseph, sent him to the 
workhouse of St. Thomas in the East ! There strict discipline, hard labour, and 
hard fare, wore down his body and his spirit. He returned to Chiswick, at 
the term of his confinement, an altered man ; and a few months closed the 
career of this 'wealthy slave' "* (the other name by which Mr. Barclay 
designates him). 

" We do not mean," adds the editor, " to accuse the overseer of Chiswick of hav- 
ing acted with causeless severity towards Joseph Marriott ; he had been an indulged 
slave, and perhaps forgot his station ; nor would we lead our readers to under- 
stand that he was treated in the St. Thomas' in the East workhouse with a 
harshness beyond the discipline of a house of correction : he had been an in- 
dulged slave, and was now an * old ynan,' and the consequence we have described 
might have been produced without unusual severity. We wish only to show the 
working of the present system of slavery ; and to lead our readers to appreciate 
the words of Mr. Barclay, when he says — ' here is a wealthy slave purchasing 
the manumission of a woman with a large family,' — * who had yet no wish to 
change his own condition.' 

" Such is this anecdote, as it has been related to us,f and we beg our readers to 
compare these two accounts of the same transaction, and judge of the correct- 
ness of our author's representations. 

" We will not, however, insinuate by om' silence that no slave could produce 
* two or three hundred pounds' of his own. We are ourselves acquainted with 
some who possibly might, and we believe, as Mr. Barclay states, that there are 
a few on Holland Estate, in St. Thomas in the East, who could do so — though 

* A similar attempt at gross delusion recently occurred in the examination of 
a distinguished planter before the committee of the House of Lords ; but we 
reserve our account of it until the evidence shall have been published. 

f " Should it be in any part erroneous or defective^ we offer our pages to Mr. 
Barclay, and urgently request him to set us right." 

268 Misstatements of Mr. Alex. Barclay. 

we allow with him ' this is the best case of the kind within our knowledge. 
But the consequence which he would have his readers to draw of their inde- 
pendence and happiness we deny ; and shall briefly state, as illustrative of our 
denial, a fact relating to slaves on this estate : — 

" James Walker has been one of the most respectable and one of the most 
wealthy slaves in the island of Jamaica. He has been blessed with prosperity 
and length of days ; he has lived to see his children and his grand-children rise 
to maturity around him ; and he has lived to see evert/ fetnale among them drop 
one after another into the abyss of Colonial sin.' With a heart imbued with the 
feelings of the Christian religion, he has looked around on the females of his 
family, and has beheld them all the prostitutes — some the keluctant prostitutes 
— of the profligate white men in authority over and around them ! What must 
be the feelings of this Christian parent ? Such is the happiness of this opulent 
slave and possessor of slaves ! ! 

" But possibly Mr. Barclay may not consider this exaltation of his family a 
source of unhappiness to James Walker, lie might (if he had not omitted the 
7nention of such things) have numbered it among his advantages and blessings. 

"And now, if we be asked why we have related these particulars, we reply, 
by anticipation, that it is solely for the purpose of opening the eyes of all, con- 
cerned in carrying on the present demoralizing system, to the fallacy of the 
arguments by which it is supported. We seek to exhibit, in its true colours, the 
disgusting deformity of that system, not only to its abettors in the mother country, 
but to the white and coloured inhabitants of this land. These have long been 
surrounded by a thick veil of sin, which hides from their own vision the filthiness 
and soul-withering misery around them. In charity, in love, we are determined, 
with God's blessing on our efforts, to tear that veil in pieces." 

Now let the whole of the facts thus disclosed be duly considered, 
and a new feature of this cruel and revolting institution will present 
itself to our view. We have had a variety of tales told us of the hap- 
piness, not only of individual slaves, but of whole gangs of slaves. 
We will suppose all these to be true. Masters and managers, we 
will admit, may have been kind and indulgent, and the slaves, for a 
time, may have experienced few of the evils of slavery. But a mana- 
ger is dismissed, or an estate falls into the hands of a minor or a 
mortgagee, and the whole of the smiling scene may be instantly 
changed. Harshness may succeed to indulgence ; severity to mild- 
ness ; privation to plenty ; brutal outrage to considerate kindness ; 
excessive exaction to moderate labour ; a contempt of the feelings, 
and a hard-hearted indifference to the best affections of the domestic 
relation, to a solicitude to cherish and protect these richest springs of 
worldly enjoyment ; a bitter spirit of intolerance and persecuting rage, 
excited by any indication on the part ofthe slaves of religious earnestness, 
to a Christian zeal to impart to them the cheering consolations and the 
light and liberty ofthe Gospel; and all the horrors of unbridled lust, 
rioting in the despotism of unmeasured power, to a fatherly care over 
the moral purity and chastity of the young female slave. Need we 
follow out the contrast ? Every reader who feels, not as a Christian only, 
but as a man, will appreciate a condition of life daily liable to such 
terrible vicissitudes. Nor are these evils imaginary. We could mul- 
tiply instances to show their frequent occurrence in some of the vari- 
ous forms of aggravated wretchedness which we have feebly attempted 
to delineate. May the divine mercy interfere to put a period to them 

Free labour Sugar in Jamaica. 269 

for ever, for the sake not more of the immediate sufferers than of the 
guilty government and parliament and people of England, vpho can 
tolerate for an hour a system so replete with abominations. 

And then what shall we say of Mr. Barclay ? He has incurred, by 
this false and fabricated statement, not merely the guilt of a premedi- 
tated departure from truth to promote some selfish object, or some 
party purpose ; but the deeper guilt of deliberately aiming a blow at the 
happiness of the whole Negro race. Let us estimate his claim to 
credit by this single circumstance, and consign him and his works 
henceforward to merited obloquy and contempt. 

2. Free labour Sugar in Jamaica. 

In some parts of Jamaica, as the parishes of Manchester, St. Ann's, 
&c., where the cultivation is extensively directed to coffee, pasture, 
&c., and which are remote from sugar plantations and from markets, 
a variety of expedients are resorted to by the slaves in order to pro- 
cure sugar, or some substitute for that grateful article. A hand-mill 
invented by a planter, some years ago, for expressing the juice of the 
sugar cane is in frequent use, in the Negro villages, for this purpose. 
The juice expressed by the hand-mill was not usually made into 
granulated sugar, but boiled into a thick syrup, the iron pot ordinarily 
used in cooking being the utensil employed for concentrating the 
liquor, and being but ill adapted for the process. Latterly, however, 
an ingenious and industrious slave erected a cane-mill with vertical roll- 
ers, and with spokes to operate as a lever in turning it round, and of a 
capacity equal to about a one-horse power. The same slave who erected 
this mill succeeded also in improving his method of boiling. By the 
kindness of a neighbouring gentleman he procured small iron boilers, 
which he fixed up with mason work and fitted with proper flues. He 
had previously planted his cane patches, and, when his machinery was 
ready and his canes ripe, he and his wife (for he was a mai-ried man) 
with help hired from among his fellow slaves, began to cut and carry to 
the mill his canes, on the morning of the Saturday allowed for culti- 
vating their grounds, or on the Friday night preceding; and, when a suf- 
ficient quantity of juice was expressed, he began the boiling of it, which 
was continued all night, and, it appears, till a late hour on Sunday. 
Though he was a professor of religion, it is impossible to censure very 
heavily this circumstance in a country where the laws and customs, 
and the necessities of the slave, compelled him, fi'om infancy and 
through life, to violate the rest of the Sabbath. Scarcely any, even 
Christian slaves, in Jamaica are able to avoid this desecration. 

But to return. The quantity of sugar thus obtained, and which was 
of a very fair quality, fully repaid the cost of the improved apparatus, 
and this slave supplied the wants not only of his fellow slaves, but of 
the whites on the estate (a coffee estate we presume) to which he 
was attached as a slave. 

Before this slave had thus turned sugar-planter he had, by his skill 
and diligence, acquired some property, which he had carefully laid 
by, hoping to be able ere long to purchase his freedom, and thus to 
procure more time fo" his sugar speculation. He accordingly applied 

270 Free labour Sugar in Jamaica. 

to the attorney of the estate, when he judged he had accumulated 
enough for that purpose. The attorney's reply was that the proprietor 
had recently written to say that " he would manumit no more of his 
slaves of any colour," His plans for the future were thus in one 
moment completely blasted. 

The reflections in the Christian Record on this transaction are 
marked with the usual good sense of that work, and are calculated 
to show the untractable nature of slavery in Jamaica. There was of 
course no appeal from this harsh decision ; but would it not, it is 
asked, have been much better to have taken the fairly-appraised value 
of this man, and to have given him his freedom, allowing him still, as 
a tenant at a fair rent, to occupy his house and garden, and a certain 
portion of land ? As to quitting his house, or removing his sugar 
mill, (the child of his intelligence and industry,) or abandoning his 
cane patches, interspersed among his provision grounds ; such an in- 
tention was probably never entertained by him. And, besides the 
value of his efforts to himself, what an example to the slaves around 
him would have been given by his manumission and success ! But, 
alas ! this would have been regarded as sapping Jamaica plantership 
at the root. That system cannot endure that a slave should have one 
conception, or one desire, beyond the orders of his master or over-r 

The writer thus proceeds :— 

"Dujing our late troubles, I have felt some degree of interest in ascertaining 
whether the people on the property to which this cultivator of ' free labour 
sugar' belongs returned to their work as usual after Christmas ; and, especially, 
whether the * sugar planter' himself did so. As the name of the property has 
not, so far as I have observed, been numbered in the newspapers among the 
rebellious, it is to be hoped that he is still pursuing the even tenor of his way. 
But, should the contrary prove to have been the case, to what may we fairly 
attribute such a determination ? To the preaching of seditious doctrines by Sec- 
tarians ? — to religion and the Bible ? — or, to the sickening of the human heart at 
the endurance of disappointed hope ? 

" Far be it from me to speak, or to think, lightly of those acts of lawless vio- 
lence and atrocity, on the part of the slaves, by which the peace of the country 
has been recently disturbed. But just as far be it from me to speak, or think, 
lightly of the acts of unrelenting tyranny and oppression which, I fearlessly 
maintain, in setting the rules of humanity and equity at defiance, above all in 
close barring the door of hope upon them, have been the principal goad to the 
late madness of the people. Such an act have we in the instance now before us. 
Here is a man who, by dint of frugality and diligence, during a number of years, 
and by hard labour during every scrap of time which he could appropriate to his 
advantage (besides working five and a half days per week throughout the year for 
his master), and sometimes depriving himself of rest at night — here is a man, I 
say, who, by such industry persevered in, collects a sum of money which he 
thinks may be sufficient for the purchase of his freedom. He proposes the busi- 
ness to the Attorney, and then he is told that his master has signified his inten- 
tion that no other of his slaves can be allowed even to purchase their manumis- 
sion ! ! How long shall this be ?" 

We are sorry to be unable to record the name of this slave or of 
bis master ; but we trust to hear more of both ere long. 

Instruction of Slaves. 271 

3. Instruction of Slaves. 

The Christian Record contains a very interesting discussion on the 
influence which the late rebellion may have in hindering or promoting 
slave instruction. Some persons, it is said, apprehend that the door 
will now be barred against it. The Christian Record anticipates a 
different result. He admits, indeed, that ungodly planters are fully 
convinced that slavery and Christianity are incompatible, and they 
therefore assume as a necessary consequence that the teachers of 
Christianity have been the main instruments of producing the late 
insurrection. Hence " knots of these planters have met in diffierent 
parishes, and entered into resolutions to punish, in every way in their 
power, those slaves who shall dare to attend the instructions of any 
dissenter," and, though less publicly declared, the same prohibition is 
understood to refer also to those clergymen of the established church 
who are distinguished for their activity and zeal in the same cause. 

After adverting to the abortive trials of the maligned and persecuted 
missionaries, and the complete exposure of the suborned perjuries by 
which their lives were judicially aimed at, the writer goes on to affirm 
that " a full investigation of the causes of the insurrection will show 
that very few indeed, out of the immense multitude of Negroes who 
struck for wages, belonged to the churches under the care of the 
Missionaries, and that fewer still of them have been found engaged 
among the insurgents. On the contrSiYy , vast numbers defended their 
masters' property from the spoilers." 

" Now," remarks this writer (and the remarks are strikingly illus- 
trative of the abominations of the slave system), — 

" Now will the exhibition of these facts make any impression upon the minds 
of those who are knotted together to prevent the poor creatures under their care 
attending upon their chosen reHgious instructors? Most likely not. They are 
too far gone for that. And therefore, supposing that their ' Resolves' should be 
equivalent to law, it is easy to conceive of the multiplied miseries, * the lockings 
up,' ' the workings in and out,' the floggings with ' the long whip,' the polishings 
with ebony, the giving of allowance only on the Sunday mornings after fiine 
o'clock, and only giving to those actually pre&ent ; the examination of every 
man found in his best clothes on a Sunday, and then on Monday morning, or 
some time during the week, 'picking his mouth' (the Jamaica term for the art of 
finding out or making some cause for punishment) it is easy, I say, to conceive 
of all these multiplied miseries which will, in one way or another, be poured out 
upon the men who shall dare to form for themselves on this subject opinions at 
variance with those of their owners, their planting attorneys, and overseers. But 
will all this arrest the progress of instruction ? I answer. No. Past experience 
answers. No. It is no new case. A man may as well attempt to compress air 
into nothing, as to restrain the expansion of the human mind. All that he can 
do is to direct its energies and cultivate its powers to the production of good in- 
stead of evil ; and happily for the slaves — happily for this country — happily for 
the infatuated individuals themselves — there are others besides these resolvers 
against religion and religious teaching who have a voice in the matter. It may never 
cause one sleepless hour to the parties inflicting the torment, that, in addition to 
the daily and nightly exactions of labour, such a series of mental and spiritual 
sufferings is likely to render more brief the existence of those placed at their 
mercy. Yet it cannot be supposed that the absent proprietors would wish their 
slaves thus to be dealt with ; and the parties in question may be assured that 
those proprietors will be well informed of all their plans and proceedings." 

272 Instruction of Staves. 

" I would, therefore, put it plainly and directly to the proprietors of estates 
here who are resident in the mother country, whether the thus annoying, and 
treatingas savage beasts, SOME of the best slaves on their properties, can at 
all tend to promote the peace of the country, or advance t/ieii' pecuniary intej'ests ! 
Assuredly not. And it is their business to put a decided negative upon any 
such practice of their attorneys or overseers. Unless they wish their properties 
to be reduced to ashes by barbarous incendiaries, as has recently been done to an 
alarming extent, so far from banishing religious instruction from their properties, 
they will adopt more decisive measures to establish it. All that has transpired 
of the causes of the late rebellion, and a great deal more that is forthcoming, has 
afforded the most ivrefutable evidence "that not to instruction, but to the want 
OF IT — to the absence of Christian feelings in the hearts of both governors and 
governed, has been owing all the misery and ruin that has fallen upon some of 
the fairest portions of the island. The error of the planters has been that, vainly 
hoping to keep their slaves in brutal ignorance, and content to toil under the lash 
as beasts of burthen — they have refused to permit any thing like effectual reli- 
gious instruction to be given them. Keep them ignorant they could not, and, 
thanks to their masters and managers, they have acquired knowledge without 
Christian principle to control and direct it. This is now evident, and will every 
day become more so. — Instead therefore of considering the late insurrection 
injurious ultimately to the cause of effectual religious instruction, I confidently 
expect that it will further it, by teaching proprietors the necessity of having 
a peasantry upon their domains who shall have been taught, from the lively 
Oracles of God, ' to fear God and honour the king :' it must teach them that if 
they luould preserve llieir lives and fortunes, the avowed brutality of the present 
system of slave-government must yield to the same authority." 

The views entevtained by the planters generally on the subject of 
the instruction of slaves is very graphically exhibited in the following 
communication of a correspondent to the Editor of the Christian 
Record : — 

" I happened to be present, the other day, at a conversation which took place 
at the house of an attorney in my neighbourhood, on the questioyi whether or not 
a clergyman, who had been lately appointed to a district of the parish, should 
he permitted to instruct the slaves on the estates in that district ! It was the 
unanimous opinion of the planters present that the said clergyman ought not, on 
any account, to be admitted on the estates. Why ? ' Because he was a Member 
OF the Church Missionary Society !' ' There ivas nothing against the in- 
dividual himself This was admitted in so many words ; but his connection with 
that Society was deemed a sufficient reason for depriving the slaves of ihe means 
of instruction which he was appointed to afford them, and for keeping them 
bound down in the chains of spiritual darkness! What an awful responsibility 
lies on the souls of proprietors who thus deliver up the spiritual welfare of their 
slaves to the dictation of men abandoned to * wretchlessness of most unclean 
living ! !' In this manner, and for these causes, the slaves are deprived of the 
domestic instiuction and consolations of the ministers of the established church. 
From the inadequate size of the chapels, and from the want of time allowed 
them, they can scarcely attend his public ministry ; and they have been threatened 
by proprietors, attorneys, and overseers — aye, by magistrates ! with the utmost 
severity of punishment, if they shall be detected in attendance at a ' Sectarian' 
place of worship. IIow then are the unfortunate creatures to obtain spiritual 
nourishment for their famishing souls ? Whom will these planters permit to give 
them instruction ? ' The Bishop's Catechist.' He, anf he alone, is to be ad- 
mitted ; and the cause of his admission, and the value ot his instructions, may be 
gathered from the conversation which passed upon this occasion : — 

" An overseer who was present, addressing (he attorney of the estate which 
he managed, said, ' He (the clergyman) asked me to allow him to catechise the 

Parochial Schools of Jamaica. 273 

slaves on the estate, Sir ; hut I referred him to you. Has he spoken to you, 
Sir ?' ' You did perfectly right. He has not spoken to me yet.' ' Then he is 
not to attend, Sir?' ' Certainly not. He has connected himself with the 
Church Missionary Society ; and it is high time to put down fanaticism in the 
country.' ' But the catechist is still attending. Sir. Is he to go on ?' ' Oh, 
the Bishop's catechist. What does he teach? — does he teach reading?' ' No, 
Sir : he teaches them to repeat the Church Catechism.' ' Nothing more ? ' 
* No, Sir.' ' Then he may be allowed to continue. That can do no harm; it 
WILL DO NO GOOD ; hut it can do no harm. He may go on ! ! !' 

" When," asks the writer, " will the Bishop's eyes be open to his situation ? 
The lamentable fact is that he is now merely an instrument in the hands of the 
planters, by vvhich they are endeavouring to put a stop to the progress of religion 
in the island ! It is enough to make one's heart sick. — but it is too true that 
every zealous clergyman who is anxious to discharge his duty finds himself' 
checked at every point by a league between adulterous planters and tempo}'isi7jg 
churchmen : tlie former consistently opposing the truth — the latter seeking ease, 
and the ' friendship of the world.' When will his Lordship shake ofi' the tram- 
mels of worldly policy, and stand forth in the name and in the strength of his 
Master ? His voice raised against the proprietors' criminal neglect of their slaves 
would be heard and listened to, and some hope might then be entertained of 
rescuing the soul of the slave from spiritual thraldom ; but, if his Lordship thus 
continue silent, how great is his responsibility !" 

4. Kirk of Scotland in Jamaica. 

All who value the Church of Scotland (and "we are among those 
who value it highly, and who are interested in its credit and prosper- 
ity) ought to read with attention the heavy charges brought against 
its ministers officiating in Jamaica, in the number of the Record now 
before us. We will not now enter into particulars, but will content 
ourselves at present with thus briefly directing to that valuable work, 
the attention of those in the sister kingdom who have it in their power 
to apply a remedy to the opprobrious conduct to which we have with 
real pain alluded. We have the utmost confidence in the influential 
ministers of the church of Scotland that the hint now given will be 
sufficient to incite them to enquire diligently, and to correct what 
they may find amiss. 

5. Parochial Schools of Jamaica. 

" Is any one desirous," says the Editor of the Christian Record, " of learning 
the nature and effect of our system of parochial education in this island ? Let 
him look round, and he will behold bookkeeper catechists ! fornicating school- 
masters ! adulterous school committees ! and almost every person connected 
with the training up of the rising race stamped with the Colonial brand of un- 
blushing shame. Let him look round, and he will behold vice stalking through 
the land in the light of each day's sun, unabashed, because unrebuked. He 
will behold the labouring class — the slaves — destitute of principle, untaught to 
distinguish between virtue and vice, and wallowing in the mire of promiscuous 
sexual intercourse; exhibiting certainly exceptions to this general censure, which 
indicate that the day-spring from on high has dawned on the hearts of some; 
but, as a whole, ignorant alike of the spiritual requirements as of the spiritual 
consolations of the Gospel. He will behold the next class — the people of colour 
— little distinguished from the slave in principle or in practice, regarding their 
disgrace as an honour, and glorying in their shame ! And should he then look 
to the highest class in the hope of finding an example, or at least a promise, of 
better things, what will he behold ? He will see the great mass outraging de- 

2 o 

274 Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 

cency by Uieir shameless concubinage, and defying the God of heaven by the 
open profanation of his day, and by a determined hostility to his religion. He 
will observe the few who pretend to some degree of principle countenancing 
and cheering on the rest in their course of infamy— receiving the adulterer into 
their families as an honourable and honoured guest — a fit associate for tlieir 
wives and daughters ! He will find them sitting in committee with the fornicator 
and the blasphemer, as workers together with God in converting sinners from 
their sins ! ! 

" What a revolting — what a mdancholy scene ! And to what extraordinary 
cause can we attribute such universal, shameless depravity ? All communities 
are stained with vice ; but in every Christian community vice is condemned and 
decried : how is it that in ours vice is countenanced and upheld ? In every col- 
lection of fallen men we shall find some abandoned to crime, and openly callous 
to shame ; but these are exceptions from the general conduct, noticed with dis- 
gust, and held up as warnings to others. How is it that in our society the excep- 
tions — the few, shunned, despised exceptions, are the reltgjous and the 
MORAL? To what are we to attribute this, the distinguishing feature of our so- 
ciety ? To many causes, doubtless ; but to none from which such effects are 
more clearly deducible than the shameful neglect, nay, the positive and wilful 
corrupting of the youthful mind. What are our parochial schools* but semina- 
ries of adultery? Read, in the lives of those who are brought up in them, our 
justification of this assertion. Do not the individuals of each sex, as they ad- 
vance to maturity, fall into the course of colonial sin as readily, and with as little 
compunction, as would those who had been expressly brought up with that 
view ? And what is the instruction given at these schools ? And of what cha- 
racter are the teachers ? We will answer these questions, not by general asser- 
tions, whicli may, as usual, be flatly contradicted, but by describing some of the 
schools with which we are acquainted; and, for this purpose, we select those of 
the 'crack' parish of the island, the highly lauded St. Thomas in the East." 

After a variety of disgusting details in illustration of this position, 
the Editor thus concludes his appeal : — 

" We should ill fulfil our duty to our countrymen were we to refrain, through 
a false notion of charity, from exposing to themselves here, and to proprietors 
elsewhere, what appear to us to be the prevailing causes of the shameless depra- 
vity of our society. If, in effecting this object, we use harsh language, it is be- 
cause our fellow-colonists have become, from long use, so callous to shame that 
nothing but a severe goad can reach their feelings," 

II. — Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 

A large mass of information has been laid before the public 
on this subject, and has been circulated widely by means of the 
newspapers, which have given full details of the speeches delivered 
at various meetings, and particularly at a very numerous, indeed 
a greatly overflowing meeting of all denominations of Christians, 
held at Exeter Hall, in London, on the 15th of August last, at which 
upwards of 3000 persons listened with breathless interest, not to say 
horror, to the authentic testimony laid before them on the subject. 
These concurred in a unanimous vote expressive of their regret and 
indignation at the cruel and determined opposition of the colonists 
to the religious instruction of the slaves, and the disgraceful outrages 
committed by them on the persons and property of Missionaries, in 

* These schools are exclusively for the children of the free. 

Religious Persecutionn in Jamaica, 275 

violation of the laws both of God and man ; — of their ftiUest con- 
viction that the system of colonial slavery, while suffered to subsist, 
was utterly at variance with the spirit and precepts of the Gospel, 
and with any security for its promulgation ; — and of their solemn *and 
imperative obligation to urge, upon the legislature and the govern- 
ment of this country, the adoption of all suitable means for the com- 
plete and immediate extinction throughout the British dominions of 
that crying evil. 

For copious and most interesting details in support of these con- 
clusions we must refer, in addition to our own pages, to the following 
recent publications : — 

1. Report of the Speeches of the Rev. Peter Duncan, a Wesleyan, 
and the Rev. W, Knibb, a Baptist Missionary, delivered at the above 
meeting, price Id., with large allowances if taken in quantities for 
distribution. Printed for Bagster, 15, Paternoster Row. 

2. Narrative of Events connected with the Disturbances and 
Persecutions in Jamaica, by the Rev. T. F.Abbott, Baptist Missionary. 
Printed by order of the Committee of the Baptist Society for Holds- 
worth, St. Paul's Church Yard. 8vo. pp. 40. 

3. Facts and Statements connected with the late Slave Insurrection 
in Jamaica, and the violations of civil and religious liberty arising 
out of it. Prepared by the Rev. W. Knibb. 8vo. pp. 24. 

We cannot attempt any regular abstract of these highly interesting 
but condensed documents. We must content ourselves with sharp- 
ening the appetite of our readers to peruse the works themselves, by 
a few detached references. 

"I now come to the case of Henry Williams.* This man had remained up 
with some of his friends on the last day of the year, and engaged with them in 
prayer, and in renewing, as is customary with the Methodists at that season, 
their Christian covenant. For this he was tried and condemned, and was 
severely flogged. When it was asked for what that punishment was inflicted, it 
was answered that he was flogged for holding an illegal meeting, and for adminis- 
tering unlawful oaths. This poor Negro had been most carefully watching his 
master's property up to the period with respect to which he was accused, and yet 
this was his reward. 

" Another Negro, when under the lash, was asked whether his minister had ever 
stated to him that if he had faith he should be free. His answer was, ' No, 
massa ; minister never say no such thing.' You have heard of the Roman citi- 
zen who, while undergoing the torture of the lash, used only the expression, ' I 
am a Roman citizen.' You may admire the heroic firmness of that man, but 
should not your admiration be higher of the greater firmness of this poor untu- 
tored African, who during his torture refused to give false testimony, though it 
might have released him from the hands of the torturer ? 

" When the insurrection first broke out, I was concerned for the fate of one 
Negro whom I knew well, and against whom, on account of his great attachment 
to religious instruction, and his desire to communicate it to others, I knew that a 
strong prejudice prevailed. That Negro was James Malcolm. It turned out, 
however, that this man was acting as the pioneer to the troops under Sir Willoughby 
Cotton, and pointing out the haunts of those who took a part in the insurrection. 

* See for some account of the previous cruel suffering^ of this slave the Anti- 
Slavery Reporter, Vol. iii. No. 65. p. 356. 

276 Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 

" The return which the poor fellow got for his loyalty was an expressfon of re- 
gret from his overseer that he (Malcolm) was not engaged in the insurrection, as 
he should wish to get rid of him. In fact, this was the real ground of regret on 
the part of those who wished to crush all whom they suspected of a wish for the 
em-ancipation of the Negro. They saw with regret that the missionaries, and 
those who belonged to their congregations, had taken no part in the insurrection ; 
for, had it been otherwise, it v/ould have been a great point gained. It happened, 
however, that this ground of objection had not been given to them." 

"It is a fact that only one class-leader was charged by the Rebellion Com- 
mittee : that is the man whose name I have already mentioned — James Malcolm, 
who is at the present moment under sentence of death. This man has distin- 
guished himself by his excellent conduct, and by his zealous efforts to convert 
others. During the insurrection, he saved a considerable portion of his over- 
seer's property; but he was nevertheless sacrificed by the malice of the overseer, 
from whose licentiousness he had been the means of rescuing some young female 
slaves, on whom he had fixed his eyes. 

"Another person mentioned by my correspondent is a slave named Spence. 
This man, who with some of his friends, had, after watching their master's pro- 
perty, passed the remainder of the night in prayer — this man was taken by a band 
of insurgent Negroes, who, on his refusal to form one of their party, placed him 
on his knees, and directed two of their number to shoot him. Two muskets 
were directed at him at the same moment, but fortunately they both missed fire 
twice. He was then given into custody to some of the party, from whom he at 
length escaped. 

" Nothing can be more evident than the fact that neither the Negroes nor 
the missionaries were the cause of the late insurrection, but that' it was brought 
about by the conduct of the white population. That the colony will not be safe 
from similar danger in future any one must be convinced who has watched the 
course which the colonists are adopting. The late law by which ministers of religion 
are liable to capital punishment if they interpret the Scriptures in any way that 
may tend to sedition is one of a most iniquitous character. For who is to be 
the judge of the tendency of the interpretation ? The makers of the law ; men 
who have no sense of religion tliemselves, and very little morality, and who are 
averse from any religious instruction of their slaves ! The only hope of the mis- 
sionaries and of the slaves is in the justice of the British public." 

Speech of Rev. Peter Duncan, p. ?• — 9. 

" A man named Samuel Swiney was flogged ; — for what ? For going to 
prayer. How, it may be asked, do I know this ? I ansvt'er that I was an eye- 
witness to it. I stood by and saw the blood-drawing instrument of torture laid 
wpon his back, and the chains put upon his neck ; and all this for the oifence of 
praying for the recovery of a missionary who then lay in a dangerous state of 
illness. This I avouch as an incontrovertible truth. Let my opponents stand 
forward and deny it if they can. I represented these facts to his Majesty's Minis- 
ters, who dismissed the justices by whom that sentence was inflicted ; and for 
myself ray heart leaped for joy v/hen the Secretary of the Baptist Society sent 
out the means of procuring the poor man's freedom. On a subsequent occasion 
Swiney's wife was to be sold, and, although I offered as much as £'230 for her, I 
could not obtain her, because, in fact, a set had been made against me. 

" A woman named Catherine James, who had been forty-five years a slave, 
belongs to my congregation. She had been confined for praying, and for trying 
to prevent her daughter fi:om living in sin with the overseer. For this offence 
she was confined during 220 days in a dungeon — (be it miderstood that each 
estate has its dungeoii). After this, she was taken up as a runaway, and sen- 
tenced to be worked in chains for life." Speech of Rev. W. Knibb, p. 14, 15. 

" I may here give you a few specimens of the base means resorted to by the 
great men of this island, in eliciting evidence from slaves and others for the pur- 
pose of criminating your Missionaries. We are not authorised to use the na,mes 

Religious Persecutions in Jamuica. 277 

of those persons who have furnished us with the following statements, though^ 
if necessary, \ye can get them substantiated on oath. — A free member of Mr. 
Burchell's church was charged with having received letters from Mr. Burchell. 
She was taken up and examined, when the following threats were made use of 
to induce her to implicate Mr. Burchell, by a magistrate. '■ Now we have good 
proof that you did receive the letters ; now tell us the truth ; if you don't, there 
is a boat ready to ship you off.' She replied, 'I cannot tell a Lie upon myself 
or Mr. Burchell. I never did receive any letters.' Magistrate. — ' Now, my 
good woman, I won't send for a constable to take you to the Court House, but 
I will carry you myself, so you had better tell the triith.^ He then took her to 
the Court House, and put on her handcuffs, among a hundred or more Negroes, 
where she remained from two P. M. until the next day, when a lieut.-colonel 
(militia) came and said, ' Have you not letters from Mr. B. V Woman. — 'No.' 
Colonel. — 'Are you not ^ Baptist V Woman. — 'Yes.' Colonel. — ' You see 
the galloios out there (pointing to it) ; if they were to hang up Mr. B. and your- 
self, how you would holloa .'' Much more followed of the same nature, when 
Mr. M. examined her, and, finding nothing against her, she was discharged. 

Again, Mr. was present when one of the militia officers held his sword over 

a Negro's head, and, pointing to the gallows, said, ' If you do not tell me some- 
thing about the Baptist parsons, you shall be hung up there.' — Other cases oc- 
curred at Lucea. A free coloured man was present when Dr. took a Negro 

man prisoner, and interrogated him in this manner : Dr. — ' Did not Mr. Bur- 
chell tell you to rebel T ' No, Sir.' Dr. — ' Tell me the truth, tell me that Mr. 
B. did tell you to do so, or I'll blow your brains out' (at the same time pre- 
senting a pistol at his head). The Negro at last, doubtless fearing that Dr. — 
would put his diabolical threat into execution, said ' Ah, for true, massa, me 
forget, the night before Mr. Burchell go away, him tell me somting tan so;' that 
is, ' something of the kind.' This of course was sufficient to inculpate Mr. 
Burchell. — A person vi^as present when the supervisor of the workhouse at Lucea 
was superintending the flogging of a rebel Negro. The driver gave three lashes, 
when the supervisor cried out, ' What, no blood yet ? tell me, you rascal, did not 
Mr. Burchell tell you to rebel !' Negro.—' No, massa, I dont know Mr. 
Burchell, I Jiever see him.' Supervisor. — ' Tell me, did not that bloody villain 
Burchell tell you to do it?' These, and similar questions, were put to the poor 
unfortunate creature while he was being flogged ; but he persisted to the last that 
he did not know Mr. Burchell, and never saw him. This is the kind of evidence 
by which we are judged, and by this we are condemned; though it frequently 
happens, as in the last case, that all their vile attempts are ineffectual, and do 
not even by such means procure a shadow of evidence against us." — NajTative 
in a Letter of Rev. T. F. Abbott. 

Attached to an able memoria], presented to Lord Belmore by the 
Baptist Missionaries in April, 1832, claiming protection from his 
Lordship, and challenging the strictest investigation into their con- 
duct and into all their allegations, they state the amount of their pro- 
perty destroyed by the militia, during the prevalence of martial law, 
to be as follows : — • 

Eleven chapels burnt or pulled down, taken at the 
lowest estimate of the cost of their re-erection ; in- 
cluding pulpits, benches, pews, lamps, &c., in these, 
and in four licensed houses rented by the Missionaries £22,150 
Losses in horses, furniture, clothes, books, &c., and 
travelling and voyage expenses, exclusive of charges 
for the trial of the Missionaries, not yet known . . £1,100 

Jamaica currency equal to £16,(500 sterling. £23,250 

278 Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 

TWb chapels, three houses, and other property in St. James's were 
destroyed by a party of niiUtia under a Magistrate and Captain, — 
Capt, George Gordon and a Mr. F. B. Gibbs, owner of Millennium 
estate. The chapel at Montego Bay was pulled down at mid-day by 
a large mob, among whom were the following magistrates and officers 
of militia, said to be actively engaged in the outrage, viz. Lieut. -Col. 
W. C. Morris, Major J. Coates, Captains G. Gordon, W. M. Kerr, 
J. Cleghorn, J. Bowen, B. H.Tharpe, J.Tharpe, and J. Gordon, and 
the following magistrates, not in the militia, Alexander Campbell, 
C. O'Conner, and W. Heath ; moreover E. Evans, the coroner, 
and W. B. Popkin, the head constable, with a whole host of lieu- 
tenants and ensigns besides.* The custos (who we are sorry to say 
was Richard Barrett, speaker of the Assembly, and delegate to this 
country), and Dr. G. M. Lawson, who is also colonel of the St. James' 
militia, and a magistrate, it is distinctly asserted by the Missionaries, 
had been informed two hours before it happened that the outrage would 
take place ; but no interruption was attempted by them. 

In Trelawney similar outrages occurred. The St. Ann's regiment 
of militia was quartered in the Baptist chapel at Falmouth. On being 
about to quit it, J. W. Gayner, a magistrate, and Samuel Tucker, 
the adjutant, ordered the men to break it down, and it was completely 
demolished. Thomas Tennison, of the Trelawney regiment, being on 
guard, was applied to to interfere. He replied that he concluded 
they would not only pull it down but set fire to it too. Mr. Knibb's 
lodgings were also assailed with stones ; and his horses were taken 
and retained for some time by Major-General Hilton. 

At Lucea, in Hanover, Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. Payne, and Major 
R. Chambers, magistrates, and the Rev. B. H. Heath, the rector, 
went to the residence of Mr. Abbott, the Baptist Missionary, and 
Mr. Chambers with his own hand opened Mrs. Abbott's desk, and 
searched her letters, and committed various outrages, using much 
abusive language to a lady residing there. The Rev. Benjamin 
H. Heath took away Mr. Abbott's books, and had not returned them 
at the end of more than three months. Among those who aided in de- 
stroying the Baptist chapel at Lucea were the rev. rector, who invited 
a gentleman to " assist in destroying the damned Baptist chapel," 
Dr. Binns, and the constable, C. Younger. Mr. Alexander Camp- 
bell, a magistrate, was present, but did not actively interfere. On 
the evening of the same day Dr. Binns and others entered Mr. Ab- 
bott's house, armed with hatchets, and destroyed or carried off furni- 
ture, clothes, and several dozens of wine ; and Dr. Binns struck, with 
a horsewhip, a lady who tried to prevent the pillage, and threatened 
to push her down the steps. 

At St. Ann's Bay the missionary and his family were violently 
driven from their dwelling, and the chapel and premises destroyed ; 

* The names given are (and not one of them ought to he deprived of his due 
portion of infamy) W. N. Balme, Joseph Fray, W. Plummer, T. Watson, C.W. 
Ogle, J. n. Morris, G. M'Farquhar Lawson, jun., IL Hunter, W. Fowle Holt, 
James Coates, W. Gordon, Joseph G. Jump. 

Religious Persecutiotis in Jamaica. 279 

Drs. G. R. Stennett and H. Cox, Jun., magistrates, and Cupt. S. 
Drake, head-constable, aiding. The other magistrates though applied 
to afforded no protection, but sent for the boxes of the missionaries 
to the Court-house, and took from them papers and other things. 

In Vere the Baptist chapel was destroyed by fire. Hector Maclean 
Wood, a magistrate, who had beforehand broken some of the windows 
and taken away the key, being present. 

Similar outrages were committed in other places. Nine dozens of 
Madeira wine, belonging to Mr. Burchell, the missionary, were taken 
possession of by Lieut. John Henry Morris, and have not been returned; 
and afterwards the same gentleman, accompanied by Mr. James Gor- 
don, a magistrate, locked up the wine remaining and took away the 
key, which he had then kept three months in his possession. 

Facts and Stateme?its, pp. 3 — 7. 

To crown all, an association was formed by the planters, called 
" The Colonial Church Union," which, with strong professions of 
loyalty to the king, and love for the established churches of England 
and Scotland, has made it its predominant object to procure the 
expulsion of all the missionaries from the Island. — One of its con- 
stitutional rules is as follows : — 

" It is expected from every member of the Union that he will lend 
his influence and support, on all occasions, to those patriots who, in 
behalf of the paramount laws of society, have hazarded their personal 
responsibility for our preservation from the murderous machinations of 
our enemies ;" — that is to say. Every member who may have assaulted 
or may have tarred and feathered missionaries ; or who may have been 
guilty of arson in burning their chapels and dwellings ; or who may have 
bribed or suborned perjured witnesses against them ; or who may have 
cruelly punished the slaves who attend their ministrations, shall be the 
special objects of our protection. 

Now in this Colonial Church Union members of the Assembly, 
custodes, magistrates, assistant judges, and some clergymen of the 
Church of England are enrolled. One of them, a magistrate, edits a 
paper called the Cornwall Courier, in which he has repeatedly lu'ged 
that the Wesleyan missionaries should be tarred and feathered. 
Nothing, however, displays more forcibly the spirit which animates 
the planters throughout the Island than the tone taken, by the leading 
newspapers, with respect both to the missionaries, and to the poor suf- 
fering and slaughtered slaves. 

An officer of the St. Ann's Western regiment thus addresses the 
Editor of the Jamaica Courant in his paper of February 10, 1832 : — 

" Our primary ardour has been unabated. We have never allowed these 
deluded wretches time to rest ; night and day have we been at them, and have 
made terrible slaughter among them. And now, at the end of a six weeks' cam- 
paign, we are neglected — not thought of, because the Governor must have a 
little fun with Tom Hill and his yacht. The few wretches who are now out are 
hiding in the cane-pieces, and we occasionally get a bullet or two at them. On 
Sunday morning, five were shot, who were fallen in with and attempted to escape. 
I shall not consider that we are safe, although all this havoc has been made among 
the rebels ; although they may have now found the inutility of opposing the strong 

280 Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 

force whidi can be opposed to them; until we can fall upon some plan of getting 
rid of the infernal race of Baptists, which we have so long fostered in our bosoms, 
and of demolishing their bloody pandemoniums." 

Other letters to the same effect are published in the same paper of 
that clay : — 

" I cannot allow the post to start, without saying that I have remained long enough 
at Falmouth to see the Baptist and Methodist Chapels pulled down. This good 
work was accomplished this day by the troops, after their return — conquerors 
from the seat of war. Lots of groans, as you may imagine, from the Saints and 
their followers !" 

" Let Bruce (the Editor) know that the great and glorious work has com- 
menced. It is now 10 o'clock, and all hands at work, demolishing the Baptist 
and Wesleyan Chapels. The Methodist Chapel is down, and the men are hard 
at work at the Baptists.' The roof of the latter is not yet off, but so much in- 
jured as to make it as well off as on. It is standing, true, but supported by a 
few posts only. The men have gone for fire-hooks to complete the work they 
have undertaken. There is the devil to pay here to-day (as you may suppose) 
among the Saints and their followers — weeping and wailing, and gnashing of 
teeth — wringing of hands, and groans, interrupted, at times, with curses and im- 
precations on the soldiers." 

" I write in the hopes of this reaching you through the way-bag, as the Post 
Office has long since been shut. Some true-hearted Jamaicans have truly enno- 
bled themselves this night, by razing to the earth that pestilential hole, Knibb's 
Preaching Shop. Verily, friend, they have not spared Box's also. He no more 
will be able to beat the roll-call to prayers, nor the tattoo upon the consciences 
of our poor deluded slaves. In plain English, not one stone has been left stand- 
ing — nay, not even the corner one ; and I hope that this goodly example will be 
followed from Negril to Morant." 

Again in the Cornwall Courier of February 15, 1832, we find as 
follows : — 

<' Since our last we have received accounts of the destruction of every one of 
those pandemoniums of insurrection and rebellion, the Baptist preaching shops, 
from Savanna-la-Mar to Brown's Town in St. Ann's. They have been destroyed 
partly by the militia, and partly by some of their own followers, who have had 
their eyes opened by recent events, which have taught them that the Baptist 
Parsons were not the Sovereigns of Jamaica. Several of the Wesleyan Chapels 
have also been either totally or partially destroyed ; a fit but trifling retribution 
for the loss these men have caused to the proprietors of those estates that have 
been burnt by the incendiaries, who were instigated to commit the crimes, for 
which so many of them have suffered, by these preachers. — We can only say, in 
the words of the Reformer, John Knox — "To get rid of the rooks effectually, 
you must destroy their nests." — As to the rooks — the preachers — we would re- 
commend the advice of our staunch friend, James M'Queen, to be observed to- 
wards them : — ' Tar and feather them wherever you meet them,' and drive them 
off the island, excepting always those who may merit a greater elevation — a more 
exalted distinction." 

" Some there are who aver that it might have been better to await such an ap- 
plication to the House of Assembly ; we beg leave to answer — that with this 
conviction before us, no benefit whatever could have followed. — We say that no 
redress awaits our deeply seated injuries from Law, Legislation, or Government. 
Retribution has been inflicted in the most speedy manner, and it has been in- 
flicted by those who had a full right to do so. Society has its rights as well as 
Legislature. The prerogative of society is undeniable; it is at all times greater 
than that of legislature, which is dependent on it. — Here is one of those instances 
where the representatives were powerless, and the people have taken it in their 
own hands. When we say thfe people, we do not mean a mob — a gang of 

Religious Persecutions in Jamaica. 281 

ihieves and pickpockets, such as the happy politics of England now acknowlege 
as their liege Lords — ^but we mean the Magistrates, Vestrymen, and Freeholders 
of the island, who have been in arms to preserve their property, and who have, 
in open day, done this thing in self-defence ! 

"The CoLOXiAL Church Union, established in St. Ann's (Bridges, Rector) 
works well, and gives an assurance that the leading men of the country are 
zealously performing their duty ; and, as an advanced guard, are diligently pro- 
tecting our interests — counteracting and exposing the machinations of our ene- 
mies. We trust that every man in the island will enrol his name in this 

"The very defence of our lives and properties will be construed by the Anti- 
Colonists into a crime of the deepest dye. They will rave for the unexpected 
failure of their insurrectionary plans, and a crusade will be preached up against 
us, and permitted by Government. The revolutionary Parliament of England 
will emulate the revolutionary Parliament of Robespierre ; and we call on every 
man throughout the island to say whether he would not rather die with arms in 
his hand than submit to such an unjust, unprincipled, act of tyranny." 

Again in the Jamaica Courant of February 29 and March 1 : — 
" On an attentive re-perusal of the Governor's opening speech to the Legisla- 
ture, we are sorry to remark that his Excellency persists in his allusions to ' the 
machinations which have been employed to seduce the slaves into rebellion,' 
talking of their 'allegiance .' ! and the duty they owe to their masters.' The Earl 
of Belmore has been long enough in Jamaica to know that the slaves owe no 
allegiance, and that the contract between their owners and the Government of the 
moxher country provides only for their obedience to their masters ; and we depre- 
cate the idea of inculcating upon the Negro fnind the bare supposition that the 
King has any control whatever over him.' " 

The foul means taken to suborn evidence against the missionaries 
may be judged of by the following facts : — 

Samuel Stennett, a man of colour, swore that he had heard Mr. 
Burchell tell the leaders of his congregation that ''freedom was theirs: 
they must fight and pray for it, and they would get it." On this 
deposition, that missionary was committed to gaol and put upon trial 
for his life. Before, however, the day of trial came, Stennett, driven 
by the agonies of an accusing conscience, made the following volun- 
tary affidavit : — 

" Personally appeared before me Samuel Stennett, of the parish of St. James, 
county of Cornwall, and island aforesaid, being duly sworn, maketh oath and. 
saith, That the affidavit made by him against the Baptist missionaries, T. Bur- 
chell and F. Gardner, which led to their confinement in gaol, was false and un- 
just; that he never heard from them such facts as he, the deponent, hath sworn 
against them. That he was instigated to do so by Messrs. George Delisser, 
George M'Farquhar Lawson, Jun., Joseph Bowen, and W. C. Morris, the for- 
mer of whom assured him that he would be well looked upon by the gentlemen 
of this place, that the country would give him £lO per annum, and that he, 
George Delisser, would make it £50. This deponent further saith that he is 
induced to make this declaration to relieve his conscience, as he knew nothing 
against the said missionaries, and that he never joined the Baptist Society as a 
member until after Mr. Burchell had left the country. So help me God." 

Richard Brown, of Falmouth, who by his industry had purchased 
his own freedom and that of his wife, stated that he was present, as 
sentinel, when a slave, named Robert Hall, and also when another 
slave named Bell, were led out to be shot, Mr. Russell and Mr. Jobson 
being also present. 

2 p 

%S2 Religious Pei^secntions in Jamaica, 

" Heard Mr. Russell ask him what parson told him he was going to be free. 
Heard Robert Hall say he never heard parson say so. Heard Mr. Russell say, 
What, no parson? Answered No. Heard Mr. Russell say,— Say Parson 
Knibb, you Sir. Heard prisoner say, Master, I cannot go tell a lie, I never 
hear it." 

A similar conversation took place between these gentlemen and the 
slave Bell. 

How little the missionaries deserved such treatment may be inferred 
from a letter addressed by Samuel M. Barrett, Esq., a proprietor of 
about 500 slaves in St. James's, and attorney for many more, to Mr. 
Knibb, congratulating him on his release from restraint : — 

" I deeply regret," he says, " that the feelings of the country should have so 
strongly marked yourself and the other Baptist missionaries as objects of persecu- 
tion. My opinion, an opinion resulting from my own frequent and confidential in- 
tercourse, not only with my own Negroes, but with the Negroes of various other 
estates, is, that religion had nothing to do with the late disturbances ; but, on the 
contrary, its absence was a chief cause of them. No people could have con- 
ducted themselves better than all the Negroes upon Cambridge and Oxford Es- 
tates, and, in like manner, the people upon Retreat Pen. Even at the period 
when the prejudice ran strongest against you, and when it was scarcely politic for 
a Negro to say any thing in your favour, I have, upon every occasion, when I 
have enquired from any of the members of your congregation upon any of my 
properties, whether you had ever taught them to expect Jreedom ; the answer has 
invariably been such as to convince me the charges against you were ill-foundedo 
In the absence of all proof to criminate any one in particular, or any class of 
persons, professional or otherwise, I would not in charity suspect"any one, or 
venture to assign any cause for so great an evil as it has pleased Providence to 
afflict us with. I should have deeply deplored, for the sake of religion, had any 
of its Ministers so far perverted the truths of the Gospel as to create this shed- 
ding of blood. I do, therefore, most sincerely rejoice that you stand innocent 
of all guilt as connected with the late disturbances^ so far as any proof has, as 
yetj been adduced." 

Mr. Knibb produces this further strong testimony in favour of him- 
self and his brethren : — 

" In the midst of our troubles and persecutions I acknowledge with gratitude 
that it pleased the Lord to raise us up some friends. John Manderson, Esq., 
a man of coloiu* — one of those persons who are tauntingly described as forming 
the link between the man and the brute — that humane and compassionate in- 
dividual visited me on a bed of sickness, and told me that he had lost upwards 
of £40,000 by the insurrection of the slaves, but so convinced was he that the 
missionaries had no hand or part in it that he was ready to share with them even 
to his last dollar. That individual was a member of the Assembly. It has 
been said that it was intended to tar and feather him. I should like to see them 
try to accomplish this : if a rough hand were to be unnecessarily put upon a man 
of colour, that moment the island would be gone." — Report oj' Speeches, p. 12. 

" Out of 16,000 Baptist slaves not one could be found," says Mr. 
Knibb, " that would say a word against his minister. On the con- 
trary many of them were most exemplary in their conduct during the 
whole course of the insurrection, apprehending insurgents, protecting 
their owners' property from attack and conflagration, and performing 
the plantation labour as usual." Among many instances he specifies, 
the following ; — 

Circular Despatches of Viscount Goderich. 283 

*'' Charies Campbell, belonging to Weston Favel Estate, a deacon at Falmouth, 
saved the property, and has received his freedom in consequence. 

" Edward Barrett, belonging to Oxford, guarded, with the people, the property 
for a mouth. We have eighty-six members on this property. He, Barrett, is a 
deacon of the church at Falraautb. 

" George Prince of Wales, a member of the church at Falmouth, had the whole 
charge of the property, the keys of the store, &c. &c., put into bis hands, for a 
month. We have thirty-six members on this estate. 

" The members of the churcli at Carlton Estate saved the property, as the fol- 
lowing note, from Mrs. Waddell, the wife of a Presbyterian missionary, will 
testify : — ' I am happy to say that some of your people, in this quarter, have 
adorned the gospel by their becoming conduct, particularly Reeves, Hall, and 
Gordon. Mr. Cron (the attorney) says ' they have saved Carlton, and have 
completely exonerated Mr, Knibbjrom having ever said any thing to excite the 

" On several estates in Trelawney, to the number of forty or more, the mem- 
bers of my church mounted guard, andsaved the property. Only three of the 
members were tried by Court Martial, and they, I verily believe, were innocent. 

"Not a single estate or pen was burnt where we had a member connected with 
Falmouth church, though the whole number was eighty-six. 

" On almost every estate that was saved from the rebels there were Baptists, 
and they were the cause of its being spared. 

" Several of the members have been rewarded by the House of Assembly for 
their good conduct. 

" Mr. Cantlow's church was in the heart of the rebellion ; fifteen out of eighteen 
of his leaders were faithful to their owners. Of the other three we have no 
sufficient proof of guilt. A gentleman from America, who saw one of them 
tried and hung, said to me, I hope to meet him in heaven : he died for being a 

" Many were actively engaged in saving property. Escrow Freeze, on Leyden 
Estate, has received his freedom for his good behaviour. His wife was shot, in 
her own house, by the troops. He was ordered to kill a Negro, without trial, 
and refused, when the white man immediately chopped the Negro to death. 

" William Ricketer, one of Mr. Burchell's deacons, saved the property from 
the rebels, when the troops ran away. I believe he has obtained his freedom. 

" After every exertion for the purpose, I could not find that one of Mr. Burchell's 
leaders or deacons was convicted of rebellion. 

" Not a single estate on which Mr. Abbott had members stopped work at all." 

III. — Circular Despatches of Viscount Goderich to the 
Governors of the Slave Colonies. 

In a paper printed by order of the House of Commons of 27 July, 
1832, No. 649, are contained the recent communications of His 
Majesty's Secretary of State with the Governors of Slave Colonies on 
the subject of Colonial Reform. 

The first, dated the 12th May, 1832, is addressed to the Governors 
of the West Indian Legislative Colonies, and expresses his Lordship's 
regret at the rejection by the Colonial Assemblies of the Order of 
Nov. 2, 1831, as Government felt it to be their imperative duty, in 
any practical measures they might adopt, to combine the interests of 
the masters with those of the slaves, and " to adhere inflexibly to the 
determination" of conferring benefits on the former "only when satis- 
fied that adequate means had been adopted for improving the condi- 
tion of the latter." And this co)irse they regarded as the best cal- 

284 Circular Despatches of Viscount Goderich. 

culated " to avert the evils which every year's experience had demon- 
strated were likely to follow from the prolonged agitation of the 
vehement controversy on all questions connected with slavery." He 
now, however, had resolved not to press for the present the adoption, 
as a law, of the Order of the 2nd Nov. And the reason for suspend- 
ing that Order his Lordship states to be the appointment of a Com- 
mittee of the House of Lords for enquiring into the state of society 
in the Colonies, and into the laws regulating the relations of master 
and slave. He retained, indeed, he says, the opinion he had already 
so strongly expressed in his despatch oi the 5th Nov. 1831 (see Anti- 
Slavei7 Reporter, vol. v. No. 92, p. 37), that no such enquiry was 
necessary; but he had yielded to it from a hope that the recommenda- 
tions of this Committee, composed of many who were large West In- 
dian proprietors, might influence the local legislatures voluntarily to 
reform their system. In what appeared to him to be but a choice of 
evils, he thought it better, on the whole, to incur the certain incon- 
venience of postponing the relief which is so urgently required both 
by the planter and by the slave, and to encounter the risk which must 
necessarily attend the prolonged agitation of this subject, than to pro- 
ceed at once to bring before Parliament any measures of a more de- 
cisive nature." The enquiry at least, he trusts, will " either make 
manifest to all that the Government is under the necessity of taking 
further and more effectual measures, or it may induce the Colonial Le- 
gislatures to adopt the reforms to which Government have looked as 
the means of satisfying both the claims of humanity and the dictates 
of prudence." "Such a course," he adds, " had become the more 
necessary, as the delay which had taken place in executing the reso- 
lutions of 1823 had driven many who would have been originally 
contented with their enforcement to press for the immediate and 
unqualified abolition of slavery." " It is to be hoped, therefore," he 
further adds, " that the Committee of the House of Lords maybe the 
means of prevailing upon the Colonial Legislatures to take a just view 
of their situation, and of the increasing difficulties with which it is 

On the 9th of June, 1832, Lord Goderich again addressed the 
Governors of the Legislative Colonies, to announce the formation also 
of a Committee of the House of Commons, in consequence of the 
numerous petitions for the abolition of slavery, to consider and report 
what measures it iTiay be expedient to adopt " for the extinction of 
slavery throughout the British Dominions, at the earliest period com- 
patible with the safety of all classes in the Colony, and in conformity 
with the resolutions of May 15, 1823.*" 

"Some alarm has been expressed," observes his Lordship, " lest 
this vote should tend to an erroneous impression on the minds of the 
slaves of being declared free, and they should be led by disappoint- 

* The words in italics were moved as an amendment on Mr. Buxton's motion, 
hy Lord Althorp, on the suggestion of the West Indian party; but were resisted 
"by Mr. Buxton and his friends. On a division, they were carried by a majority 
of 73 ; 163 voting for them, and 90 against them. 

Circuktr Despatches of Viscount Goderich. 285 

ment to acts of insubordination." In this alarm, however, his Lord- 
ship says he does not participate ; on the contrary he entertains a san- 
guine hope that nothing would so much tend to allay any feelings of 
discontent which may have arisen from the late discussions, and the 
resistance to the measures proposed for their relief, and to lead the 
slaves patiently to await the promised improvement of their condition, 
" as the certainty that Parliament is now engaged in an enquiry into 
the best and speediest mode of effecting that object," If indeed "the 
owners of slaves should suffer themselves to give way to unfounded 
and exaggerated apprehensions; if they should indulge in violent and 
intemperate language, there would be too great a probability that the 
slaves, forming their notions of what they have to expect from the 
alarm expressed by their masters, might be led to indulge in extrava- 
gant hopes." " I trust that the fatal proof which recent experience has 
afforded of the reality of this danger will serve as a warning to the 
Colonists, and prevent such conduct on their parts as may lead to such 
misconception." " To the planters, you will explain that the vote of 
the House of Commons implies no departure from the principles 
sanctioned by the resolutions of 1823 ; that no violent change in the 
existing form of society is contemplated ; but that, on the contrary, 
the object to which the labours of the Committee will be directed will 
be that which Parliament has always recognized as the end to be 
aimed at, in all that has been done on this subject, namely, the sub- 
stitution, as soon as it can be effected without any shock or convulsion, 
of a system of free for one of forced labour. To the slaves, on the 
other hand, you will give the assurance of his Majesty's most earnest 
solicitude for their welfare ; but you will explain to them that any at- 
tempt on their part to wrest by force, from their masters, advantages 
to which they have no legal claim, can have no other effect than to 
draw down upon them the severest punishment, and to postpone the 
accomplishment of that which is intended for their benefit." 

The Circular Despatch addressed about the same time (May 13, 
1832) to the Governors of the West Indian Crown Colonies, announces 
the intention of his Majesty's Government to move Parliament to 
grant to the West Indian Crown Colonies, when satisfied that the 
Order in Council of Nov. 2, 1831, is in full operation, a moiety of 
the annual public revenue of each ; leaving it to the Governor and 
Council to select, with the approbation of the Government, the par- 
ticular Colonial taxes to be remitted in consequence.* This relief, 
however, is to be regarded as merely provisional, and to be exchanged 
hereafter for advantages of a more permanent character. 

His Lordship trusts that the Order is now in operation. If not, the 
Governor will of course use the powers with which he is invested to 
enforce the law, and, while he secures to the slaves the full enjoyment 
of the advantages conferred upon them by it, he will repress every 
attempt to abuse them, and cause the master's authority to be re- 
spected, and his lawful commands obeyed. 

* The annual revenue of these Colonies is as follows : — St. Lucia, £12,531 ; 
Trinidad, £37,761 ; and Guiana £65,332. The amount of the annual remission, 
therefore, will be respectively £6,266 ; £18,88 1 ; and £32,666 ;— in all £57,71 3. 

286 Circular Despatches of Viscount Goderich. 

His Lordship postpones any modifications of the Order in Council 
at present, though he professes his disposition to consider maturely 
any that may be proposed, and he feels less difficulty in this postpone- 
ment as the objections appear to him to have proceeded from miscon- 
ceptions of the real nature and effect of this Order. What follows 
will be given nearly entire and in his own words. 

" It has been urged that the restrictions on manufacturing labour will be at- 
tended with the absolute ruin of the plantations ; and it appears to be taken for 
granted that the law has forbidderv' slave-labour beyond the prescribed hours, 
even with the consent of the slave himself. There is nothing, however, in the 
Order to justify this construction, but much which seems to me directly opposed 
to it; for the words of the 90th clause are that ' No slave shall be compelled or 
bound ' to perform any labour beyond the prescribed hours ; and the penalty is 
denounced in the 96th clause against owners who shall ' compel or require any 
slave to perform any such extra labour. All, therefore, that is prohibited is com- 
pulsory/ labour beyond the prescribed hours. 

" But it is further assumed that the slaves will not voluntarily engage in extra 
labour for hire. This assertion has been often made, and, wherever the experi- 
ment has been fairly tried, so far as my information extends, has been as often 
refuted. Thus the works of the engineer department were executed at Berbice, 
and the lieutenant-governor's residence there was built by the voluntary labour 
of hired slaves ; and the Crown Negroes in British Guiana, who have recently 
been made free, have, since their liberation, employed themselves in working 
for wages under the commanding officer of engineers. From the Bahamas also 
several oases are reported by the governor of the exertion of the utmost industry 
by persons of the same class, when stimulated by the hope of wages ; and, in 
the last collection of papers on the subject of slavery, which were presented to 
Parliament on the 15th March last, will be found at page 76 a report from Sur- 
tees, the protector of slaves in St. Lucia, which proves from the custom-house 
returns that, from the 5th January 1831 to 5th January 1832, upwards of 1092 
tons of logwood were exported from the port of Castries on account of slaves, 
being the produce of their voluntary labour during the days and hours secured 
to the